Christmas, Christ the King, Royalty, Etiquette, Marge Fenelon

Gerard van Honthorst: Adoration of the Magi (1622)

When one meets royalty, there is a certain etiquette to observe.

In Medieval times, there were particular requirements of dress and men bowed their heads and women curtsied when greeting the King or Queen. They were addressed as “Your Majesty” and one waited to be given permission to speak. Royalty went first through the door, sat first in a sitting room or at the table, were served first, ate first, and left first. The others must wait until given permission to proceed. One must not enter a royal’s room unless invited and definitely should not any longer than necessary. Events at which royals were host or guest required as much detail. The King and Queen were accompanied by a list of personnel whose sole occupation was to see to the needs of the royals – guards, ladies in waiting, chamberlains, and pages. It was an entourage fit for a, well, a king.

There was no messing around when it came to the treatment of the royals!

It’s not hard for me to understand why it was this way. The King and Queen were the heads of their country, and seen as divinely crowned. At times, they had influence in the governance of the Church and in the case of King Henry VIII, was named the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Of course, he named himself such, but that’s another blog post…

Suffice to say that the King and Queen were to be listened to, respected, served, obeyed, and honored.

We don’t live in the Middle Ages, but we do have a King who is to be listened to, respected, served, obeyed, and honored. In fact, our King isn’t only to be honored; he’s to be worshiped and glorified as well.

Our King is Christ the Lord.

Indeed, Christ is our King and he is fast approaching! How will you welcome him?

This King’s approach may be subdued compared to the kings of old, but it’s a royal one nonetheless and deserving of all the frazzle-dazzle and etiquette of any king. No, wait. Correct that. This King’s approach is deserving of more frazzle-dazzle and etiquette of any other king!

On Christmas night, the King of Kings will come forth and will be looking to enter the palace of our being. Our homes will become his kingdom and our hearts his throne. Are they places fit for a King? If not, there’s still time. We can tidy our hearts with the sacraments and embellish them with longing and joy. Our homes need not be Better Homes and Gardens perfect, but do we have at least one symbol of the King’s approach? Do we have a place of honor for him? Somewhere? Anywhere? Humans are such sense-oriented creatures that we need those outer trappings to help our inner disposition.

When you greet the King, what will you say to him? Will you inwardly bow or curtsy in respect? Will you call him “Your Majesty” and tell him how delighted you are by his coming? Will you offer him a place at your table? How will you respond to his message for you? Will you linger with him for the sheer joy of it?

You see, this King – unlike any other King – wants you to stay in his presence and vice versa. He wants you to speak your heart and have a long, loving conversation with him. He wants you not to stay at a distance, but to come close to him – closer, closer, and yet closer. This King who deserves all glory, worship and honor, yearns to enter your home and heart.

This King is Christ the Lord!


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