You couldn’t miss it. Well, I suppose, really, you couldn’t get away from it. Going abroad was no use – there were few accessible corners of the globe where you would have been safe. A prince was born! After all the waiting and speculation, George finally entered the world to begin life in the spotlight and the flash of cameras.
Of course, it will be a life of privilege. His parents may be careful not to give him everything he wants – they are fools if they indulge his every desire – but his life will be very different from that of most other children anywhere in the world, and light years away from the struggles and hardships of millions. By most measurements George will have privileges and opportunities in abundance. Many will envy him his position.
And yet it will all come at a price. However carefully his privacy is guarded in his early years, the media and the public will be hungry for every scrap of information, however trivial. The paparazzi will be desperate to get unauthorised photos which will be worth a fortune in some quarters – just ask George’s mother. As he grows up every thing he does and every word he speaks will be analysed and interpreted, or misinterpreted. Inevitably there will be the George the public thinks it knows, and there will be the real George, perhaps very different, perhaps afraid to be himself. A high price to pay for privilege. Too high, many of us might think.
Of course among the headlines we had ‘Born to be King’ and all sorts of variations on the theme, and of course the lives and characters of the six British kings called George occupied a few pages in the papers and on the Internet. None of the ‘historical’ analysis told us anything about Prince George or what kind of man he will be, let alone what kind of king.
And for all we know, he never will be king. Life is very fragile and very uncertain. His grandfather has not yet been made king – will he ever be? His father has not yet been made king. For all kinds of reasons, George may never be. He’s only human, like the rest of us, and his life is not in his own hands.
In fact, his life, and every breath he will breathe, is in the hands of One who truly was ‘born to be king’ and who is king. He is the One who is King of kings, and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).
This King began life not in a top class hospital, to move on to life in a royal palace. Instead he was born in the humblest of circumstances, became a refugee and for much of his short life lived in obscurity. No different, in fact, from multitudes of babies before and after him. Yet he was unique.
This baby was a miracle. Not simply because of his virgin conception, but because here in this child the eternal Son of God had taken human nature into union with his divine nature. He was – and is – God and man in one person. In words whose depths we can never plumb, John tells us, ‘The Word became flesh’ (John 1:14). The Creator, the One who spoke the words that brought all things into existence (Genesis 1), shares our human nature, with the sole exception of our sin.
Born to be King – and born to die. This King secures the salvation of his people by humbling himself to the lowest place of death on a Roman cross (Philippians 2) and rises triumphant, having completed the mission entrusted to him by his Father. This is the One who can say ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me’ (Matthew 28:18). He reigns, not over one nation, but over the entire universe, until all his enemies are put under his feet. He demands the allegiance and obedience of every man and woman, and will call all to account. No corner of life is beyond his authority and his people are to give him joyful and willing obedience. All will stand before him – Prince George, his father, his grandfather, his great-grandmother, and all of us. ‘Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed be all who take refuge in him’ (Psalm 2:12).