Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the homes of the poor. No one whom he visited thought that he was their ruler. One time he visited a very poor man who lived in a cellar. He ate the coarse food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left.
Later he visited the poor man again and disclosed his identity by saying, "I am your king!" The king thought the man would surely ask for some gift or favor, but he didn't. Instead he said, "You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the course food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart! To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!"
This ancient folktale reminds us what the current season is all about. For it was at the very first Christmas that the King of Glory, the Lord Jesus Christ, came to us. And in the process, He gave us the greatest gift that could ever be given – He gave Himself to you and me.
In in his Second New Testament Letter to the Corinthians (chapter 9, verse 15) the Apostle Paul discusses Christ’s coming into this world. As he does, he calls Jesus Christ God’s "unspeakable gift" to us. The Koine (or common) Greek word Paul uses here in the original language of the New Testament is "anekdiḗgētos", meaning "not able to be fully declared".
It occurs nowhere else and is used of no other person or event in the entire Bible! That is to say that God’s gift to us in Christ is so unique as to be beyond all words! God’s magnanimous gift of Himself to at Christmas is so astounding as to leave us speechless!
Like the shepherds of old, we find that we stand in awe! Like Peter tells us in his First New Testament Letter (chapter 1, verse 8), we find ourselves full of "unspeakable joy"! And like Zechariah in the face of the angel’s announcement in Luke’s New Testament Gospel (chapter 1:5-25), we are completely dumbstruck as we witness the unfolding of God’s miraculous grace!
And yet, once we recover, we immediately join in with all of these, with Paul himself, and boldly proclaim with joy: "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!"
STORY SOURCE: Available widely online in various forms. See, for instance: http://www.gospelweb.net/Christmas/StoryOfThePersianKing.htm.
BIBLE SOURCES: https://www.biblehub.com/1_peter/1-8.htm;