Home > Advent > December 22 – O Rex Gentium

December 22 – O Rex Gentium

December 22 – O Rex Gentium
O Rex Gentium: “O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.”

The earliest ornament I remember seeing is a small, brown plastic triangle-shaped nativity with sparkles on the roof and a little scene inside the stable. They came in all shapes and sizes, and we had every variation in virtually every room.

Today a large porcelain nativity greets us in our foyer complete with shepherds, wise men, animals, hay, a well, Joseph, Mary and the baby. Our imagination places all these characters together even though the gospel stories do not. This tradition of creating a composite nativity dates at least back to the eleventh century and maybe earlier.

While most of our contemporary nativities focus on the main characters, Italian village nativities may include a host of other characters. They recreate a miniature Italian village humming with activity. There are hundreds of figurines including craftsman, village people, and more. It is as though Jesus is born in the midst of the busy activity of life.

These nativities may not accurately represent the way the story unfolds, but they do reveal a truth deep within the gospel story. The baby Jesus holds the scene together, and in Him the kings and shepherds, rich and poor, the Jew and Gentile are joined together.

This newborn King, attended by great and small alike, fulfills the very idea of king. Up until his birth, all kings were simply imperfect types. When he appears, the archetype appears and kingship is fulfilled completely in Jesus. The baby in the manger wields the power of heaven and earth. Wise men recognize this one having authority and bow down, offering homage to the source of their rule.

By claiming His throne through the cross, this king claims every throne. This king will claim all power and all rule and all wisdom and all grace and all might. In so doing, He will remove the walls of separation. We celebrate, and rightly so, the wall of separation he removed between humans and God. In Him alone, do we enjoy the mystery of the communion of love revealed in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Even as he removed the wall separating God and humans, he removed the wall between one human and another. A clear and definite wall existed between the Jews and the Gentiles, forbidding the Jews to have relationship with the Gentiles. Jesus removes that wall and literally forms one new man of Jew and Gentile alike.

At the same time, he removes the wall between all humans. Ultimately, sin isolates every person from every other person and true communion is impossible. The existentialists saw and felt this separation more deeply than most. In spite talking nonstop, we cannot penetrate the wall between us. We can sit in the same room and sleep in the same bed and still are separated by an uncrossable divide.

How could we ever hope to have peace between nations when we cannot even maintain peace between two human beings? We seem hopelessly separated by islands of thought. We use the same words but experience completely different worlds.

In the mystery of His rule, King Jesus enters into the breach between one soul and another. By the power of His Spirit, he binds us together. Our words do not simply drop into a void but the wind of the Spirit blows through our words and we enliven one another.

And now we speak of a mystery. The binding of two souls in one relationship points to the mystery of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in perfect, delightful communion.

Some feeling the weight of separation and dualism in this world, embrace the idea that we are all part of the same substance: it is only illusion that separates. I believe it is sin the separates us not only from God but also from one another.

Evil must be overcome. And King Jesus breaks the power of evil through His own life, death and resurrection. He invites us to sup with Him and with one another. By His grace alone, we are transformed to living by the flow of love. By His grace alone, can we enjoy true communion with God and one another.

From time to time, we experience but a glimpse of this perfect harmony of love in our worship and in our conversations, in our art, and in our relationships. These glimpses stir us to strain forward toward the day of His appearing when love will be made complete.

All things have been made in Him and all things will be gathered together in him. In the end, our nativities that bring together shepherd and wise men and craftsman and villagers will become reality and all will behold a cosmic nativity before the King of the past, present and future. The King who is all in all: over all, in all, exceeding all, sustaining all, filling all, ruling all.

O come let us adore Him.

Categories: Advent Tags: , ,
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: