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Advent Meditation: The Choice


Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37)


It can be tempting at Christmastime—as we reflect on baby Jesus and the serene imagery of him cradled in Mary’s arms, wrapped in swaddling clothes—to downplay or forget his supreme kingly authority. Jesus is God made flesh, the King of kings, the authority before which everything will bow, and compared to which every other authority pales.

Our response to Jesus isn’t just about admiration or appreciation. It demands allegiance. We must enthrone him in our hearts and submit to his reign. If we don’t, he’s just a holiday symbol as pleasant yet as powerless as poinsettias and Christmas trees.

Advent presents everyone with a clear choice: bow down and worship the Christ, recognizing his authoritative claim on every square inch of the universe, or simply shrug at nativity niceties, drink some eggnog, and live your life as you see fit. There’s no middle ground. Jesus is either the real, reigning king of your life, or he’s a fiction as fantastical as Santa Claus.

Our response to Jesus is not just about admiration or appreciation. It demands allegiance.

What, you might ask, is the nature of Jesus’s authority to occupy this “King of kings” role? Pilate wondered the same thing. Certainly, Jesus’s authority looks different than what we’re used to in a king or ruler. His authority isn’t found in worldly riches, military power, or political prowess. His authority comes from his association with God’s truth. “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world,” he says, “to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37). Elsewhere he says he is “the way, the truth, and the life” (14:6) and that those who follow his words will “know the truth, and the truth will set [them] free” (John 8:32). John starts his Gospel on this note, describing Jesus as eternal, ever-existing truth that takes on flesh (1:1–18).

But a lot of people claim to speak the truth, you might argue. How do we know which person’s “truth” claim is actually true? Why believe Jesus when he talks about himself as the truth? That question brings us back to the choice before us: either believe Jesus is who he says he is, and thus bow down before him, or don’t, and go on our merry way.

Jesus makes it clear what’s at stake in the choice. “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice,” he says. If we want to be on the side of truth, we’ll listen to Jesus. We’ll acknowledge him as King. If we look to any other foundation or bow to any other king, we’ll be on shaky ground, forever wandering and captive to fluid feelings, ephemeral trends, and whatever regime makes the rules in the moment.

Jesus offers truth that sets us free—truth to build a life on. But we can’t follow him partially or listen to his words selectively. We must either enthrone him fully in our hearts—living in light of his lordship—or reject him completely. That’s the choice.


Are you living “all in” in response to the kingship of Christ? Reflect on aspects of your life you haven’t submitted to the lordship of Jesus. Is there something you want to keep under your control? With the help of the Spirit, how can you choose today to bring all of yourself to Christ in worship and allegiance?


So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh
Come, peasant, king, to own him
The King of kings salvation brings
Let loving hearts enthrone him

– William Chatterton Dix, “What Child Is This?”


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