Christ Came from a Throne in Heaven
For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. Isaiah 57:15
Some congregations today omit hymns like “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne and Thy Kingly Crown” (1864) because of its outdated language. But they lose much. Emily Elliott’s hymn bursts with inspired images of the life of Jesus Christ—before, during, and after his incarnation.
Elliott begins before the nativity and pictures the Lord Jesus taking off his crown and putting it aside. He then descends from his heavenly throne to Bethlehem and becomes a baby.
Unfortunately, the tiny town is overcrowded with travelers and there is no room in the inn for his parents, Mary and Joseph. The baby is born in a stable (Luke 2:7).
Each of the hymn’s first four stanzas ends with the refrain:
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.
Elliott also depicts Jesus’s ministry. He did not choose to live in a mansion or palace. He was in effect a homeless man (Matthew 8:20):
The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest
In the shade of the forest tree;
But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee.
We can hear the hymn writer’s grief as she describes how most people had no room in their hearts for him during his years of ministry:
Thou camest, O Lord, with the living word
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.
However, Elliott’s biography doesn’t end here. She jumps forward to Jesus’s second coming in victory to gather the people to himself (Matthew 24:31). She especially looks forward to a particular moment:
Let Thy voice call me home, saying “Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee.”
And Elliot’s heartfelt response is:
My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When Thou comest and callest for me.
Make room in your heart this Christmas for the Lord Jesus and his living Word.
It’s so easy to be distracted by all the preparations we think need to be done for Christmas. Read Luke 10:38-42 and ask God to show you what is necessary and what is not. How can you sit at Jesus’s feet as you prepare to celebrate his birthday?
Compare Matthew 8:20 (above) and 2 Corinthians 8:9. Why did Jesus leave a throne in heaven and become poor? Who will you tell about this lowly King?
Spend some time meditating on the contrast between Jesus Christ’s first Coming to earth and his Second coming: see Matthew 16:27, Matthew 24:30; and Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 1:4-7. For instance, consider: who knew about the birth vs. who will see the return? What happens after Jesus returns?
For all the words to Emily Elliott’s hymn, go to http://www.hymnary.org/text/thou_didst_leave_thy_throne_and_thy_king
Nancy J. Baker
This devotion is part of our series on Heaven