Historians tell the story about the funeral of Charlemagne. He was the greatest Christian ruler of the early Middle Ages.
After Charlemagne’s death, a tremendous funeral procession left his castle for the cathedral at Aix. When the royal casket arrived, with a lot of pomp and circumstance, it was met by the local bishop, who barred the cathedral door.
“Who comes?” the Bishop asked, as was the custom. “Charlemagne, Lord and King of the Holy Roman Empire,” proclaimed the Emperor’s proud herald.
“Him I know not,” the Bishop replied. “Who comes?” The herald, a bit shaken, replied, “Charles the Great, a good and honest man of the earth.” “Him I know not,” the Bishop said again.
“Who comes?” The herald, now completely crushed, responded, “Charles, a lowly person, who begs the gift of Christ,”—to which the Bishop responded, “Enter! Receive Christ’s gift of life!”
The point of the story is that in God’s eyes, we’re all equally in need of His mercy and grace. This was true in the earliest days of the Christian church. Similarly, today, all individuals, regardless of their status or station in life, will never be “good enough” to expect that the redemption the Father offers through His Son automatically belongs to them.
Instead, during the season of Advent (as well as during any other time of the year), we have the wonderful opportunity to humbly receive by faith the Father’s gift of salvation made freely available in His Son. And just as important is for us to share this good news with those who have yet to trust in the Messiah.
The angel of the Lord said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid. For behold, I proclaim to you good news that will bring great joy to all the people. Today, in Bethlehem, the city of David, your Savior was born. He is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10–11).