2021 Advent Devotions

Micah 5:2-5a | December 19, 2021

by Bill Tuck

Micah’s promise of a new ruler coming from the town of Bethlehem is a familiar theme to Christians in the Advent season. Bethlehem was the hometown of King David and was predicted to be the birthplace of the promised Messiah. The Wise Men even quoted Micah 5:2 in response to Herod’s question about the location of the birthplace of the new king as Bethlehem. In this time of their captivity in Babylonia, these words offered reassurance to the captives that a son of David would arise to restore their kingdom and their return to Israel. These words came as a source of hope to a people in their time of distress. Christians see this reference as a prophecy of the birthplace of the Messiah, who would be a shepherd to lead his flock with the strength of the Lord. This passage draws on the image of David as a shepherd as it points to the Good Shepherd to come in Jesus Christ.

As Christians, we love to sing one of the favorite Christmas carols, “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” by Phillips Brooks, as we anticipate the coming of Christmas. It resounds with the reminder of the birthplace of Jesus and its summons to celebrate the arrival of God’s Son. We reflect how “silently” or obscurely the Promised One of God came into our world, born in a small village in a cattle stall not a palace or a home of wealth and fame. We long to hear the Christmas angels sing their great, glad tidings that invite the Lord Immanuel to come and abide with us in this joyous season. We long in a time of injustice, violence, wars, and sin to receive the Prince of Peace and let his Spirit reign in our hearts as we long for him to abide in us.

Prayer: O Loving God, we open our hearts to the wonder of the birth of Your Son. Help us to prepare room for His joyous presence and not to crowd Him out with distractions that focus only on merriment and gift giving. Cast out our sin and enter our hearts with forgiveness and love. Like a small child may the wonder and mystery of Christ’s birth astound us. May the gift of His peace strengthen us to be peace makers and messengers of love for the Immanuel. May the wonder of Your love guide us in living out the message of the great glad tidings. Amen.