In the movie "The Ten Commandments," the son of the Pharoah is depicted as born into a life of luxury.
For the kings of Egypt and their heirs, every whim was cared for, no desire left unmet. Even their desire for eternal life was enshrined in their massive pyramid tombs and the elaborate preservation of their bodies.
That story from the books of Genesis and Exodus shows how God loves the poor and downtrodden, fights on their behalf, and gives the gift of freedom to his chosen people.
The history of God's people is a long one, and every step of the way the Lord is there with his love, his support, his encouragement, his grace and friendship, and -- when needed -- his chastisement. But always when the Lord has to chastise his people, he does it as a father to a son, as a mother to a daughter: with love.
Of the many covenants the Lord God established with his people in the centuries before Christ, it is the covenant with David which stands out as the eternal covenant. "I have sworn to David my servant: Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations."
It is that throne which God gives to Jesus, his Son, to be our eternal high priest and universal King. Jesus, as our King and Savior, became a man among us, made us his brothers and sisters, and taught us to call God "Our Father."
Then he took the gift of the covenant which God made with Moses, which includes the Ten Commandments, and by his authority as the Son of God and Davidic King he reminded us that God's commandments can be simply stated: love God, and love your neighbor.
In a few days we will celebrate the Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Day. We will praise and worship the God whose love knows no bounds, who sent his Son to become one of us, so that he might raise us up to become like God.
The words of the angel Gabriel to Mary come true: the son she conceived in her womb is born, God shares his very life with us, and the power of the Most High which came upon Mary means that nothing is impossible for God.
There is a catch, though. Jesus, the King of Israel, the King who inherited the throne of David, the King of the New Covenant in his Body and Blood - he is not a king born into luxury, or power, or wealth, or status, or position. He is a king born into poverty, into obscurity, into powerlessness. In other words, he's God's kind of King.
God who loves the poor so much, who fights for the downtrodden, who gives freedom to the imprisoned, and the gift of life to those who are mired in the death of sin - his kind of King is a poor man, like David. His kind of King is born from the people, like Jesus born of Mary. His kind of King is the King of Kings, and only he can give true eternal life.
May we, like Mary, become the servants of the Lord, and receive into our hearts - as she received into her womb and her life - the gift of the Savior: Son of David, Son of Mary, Son of God! His covenant is eternal, his love is everlasting, his life is for all who will heed his commandment of love.
Fr. John G. Stillmank is Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Madison and pastor of St. Andrew Parish, Verona, and St. William Parish, Paoli.