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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, December 8, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Micah 5:2–4

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. (NRSV)

I remember when I was pregnant, both with Anneke and with Harrison, I was so curious. Who would this child be? What would he or she be like? I knew our child was coming some day, but really nothing else.

Finally, when each was born, they were immediately their own person with their own personality. It didn’t matter anymore what my expectations were. They are who they are, and I love them each for who they are.

In this passage, Micah is promising Israel that their savior is coming. But beyond telling them that the savior would be their prince, their shepherd, Micah won’t tell them much more. Israel can only wait and wonder, just as I did when I was pregnant.

The one thing that Micah does tell them is that this savior will be born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem!?! From the least of the tribes of Judah? When Anneke and Harrison were young and we read this passage, they would laugh and say, “Everyone knows that princes are born in palaces, not in Bethlehem!” But once again, God is standing our expectations on their head.

The savior will be born in a humble village, a tiny creature who will become great.

And he will bring us peace.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born to us today.
We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel. Amen.

(from the hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem” by Phillips Brooks)

Reflection written by Lisa Stracks, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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