This painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder has long been a favourite. Although the Christ figure has a rather unattractive adult look, the picture is so suggestive. The idea of wealthy powerful men kneeling before this child who himself was born to be King is a powerful one. Although the picture is called the Adoration of the Kings, it's recognised that Scripture calls them magi or 'wise men' from the east, nonetheless, kings bowing before the king (although apparently a helpless babe) is appropriate. However,
|The Adoration of the Kings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder|
|Westminster Abbey yesterday|
The kings of Tharsis and the isle offer their gifts,the kings of Arabia and Sheba bring gifts (to the Lord God.) And all the kings of the earth worship him, all peoples bow before him. (Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.)
Reflecting upon this Christ, now no longer a helpless babe, to whom one day every knee shall bow, including all the kings of the earth, made me think again both upon the immensity of the incarnation, and the joy and great hope that one day 'everything sad will come untrue', when our true King will be seen and known for who he is. No wonder Handel got carried away with his fabulous piece from The Messiah, ...'and he shall reign for ever and ever, King of Kings and Lord of Lords’. Just now we must wait for that day, with the mixture of joy and sorrow that comes to us all. And yet with expectation in our hearts that one day, one day…everything will be fixed, all wrongs will be righted, and death will be no more.