“O King and treasure of the nations,
the cornerstone that makes the two into one;
and save man whom you fashioned from dust.”

We heard this morning from the Prophet Isaiah (during the Office of Readings) the following:

Thus says the LORD God:

“Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.

Kings shall be your foster-fathers and their queens your nursing mothers.

With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet.

Then you will know that I am the LORD: those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.”

(Is 49:22-23)

It is difficult – never having shaken hands with one – to know what qualities one might expect a king to have – so that he might be approachable and command a certain allegiance and loyalty. 

Kindness, perhaps? … and Knowledge? 
Insight, maybe also Inspiration;

We all come into the world in the same way, whether we be high or low; kings or paupers – and in only a very short while now, we will celebrate the great day of JESUS’ birth, and it won’t be immediately obvious what He is – a king or a pauper?  Or both?

Do we have eyes to see?

Our “O” antiphon this evening speaks of JESUS as “the cornerstone that makes the two into one,” and it was these particular words “makes the two into one” which made the more perplexing impression: what two? … and two what?

As with many of the “O” antiphons, it is very possible to give free reign to one’s imagination and set out on an adventure whose destination is unknown.  Mine took me rather mundanely to the second creation account in Genesis.

When, on waking from the sleep during which God fashioned Eve out of Adam, Adam beheld her and cried,

            “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh …”         (Gen 2:23)

Out of two … one.

And the very next verse re-unites them: God re-unites them:

            “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife and they become one …”                                                                        (Gen 2:24)

Our completion lies outside of ourselves: our wholeness and integrity is not something man can achieve independently of others, but we seem to be living through a period of what will eventually be history, where this truth makes little sense and is unwelcome.

Yet JESUShas come: born for us.

And we who have been blessed with faith and eyes to recognise – with Mary and Joseph; the angels and shepherds; and the kings who “with their faces to the ground .. bow down .. and lick the dust of [his] feet” – eyes to see that He is our King: we, even we now, all these years and ages later, we know the truth.

We are one in Him, Who unites men and women, kings and paupers.  He is utterly attractive, irresistible.  His words are powerful, challenging and hard, yet true. 


We must be the ears of the world: ears for those who are lost yet searching; ears for those who do not even know how lost they are; ears for ourselves that we may earnestly seek and long for Him, more and more.  He is our King; and He is our brother – approachable: Kind; Insightful; Noble; Gracious.  He knows our needs and so our prayer will lift us up to Him; by it He will transform us, make us alike even unto God our Father.


As on that day so long ago when the shepherds and kings beheld the helpless Child, and knew that He upon Whom they gazed was indeed the Saviour of the world, the King – yet must wait in patience for Him to grow in wisdom and strength – so let us, with Mary, wait … and know that we “shall not be put to shame” (Is 49:23).


“Come and save man whom you fashioned from dust.”