Micah 5:2, 4-5a
It was a no-brainer. If you sell Toyota cars, you have to drive the newest model. If you work at Brooks Brothers, you have to wear – well, you get the picture. So after a year of working at ChildFund, when a co-worker came to me and asked if my family wanted to sponsor a child in a third-world country, I knew what I had to do. I selected a beautiful little girl named Abegail from the Philippines. She just celebrated her 10th birthday on September 23. Abegail loves reading and singing, just like my daughter Laura Jane. They became instant pen pals. So now we had a new daughter on the other side of the world. What could be more fulfilling?
But at the moment, we do not know the fate of our “adopted” daughter. Typhoon Haiyan just ripped through her village. Is Abegail okay? Is her home intact? Is she trapped under the rubble or in a make-shift shelter or starving on the side of the road? We don’t even know if she’s alive, and all my connections at the place that pays my bills make no difference. We just have to wait, pray, and hope for the best like everybody else.
Advent is the time when we are supposed to prepare ourselves for the birth, once again, of Him who will set everything right. But all is certainly not “right” in our world. Not for Abegail and not for us. Jesus was born. He died on the cross to save us from ourselves. We are busy meeting deadlines, writing Christmas cards, responding to party invites, purchasing stocking stuffers and living hectic lives as always. But this world is still as broken as it was 2,000 years ago in the little town of Bethlehem.
So what of the prophecy? Micah says of the Promised One: “He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.”
Is the prophecy the promised birth/return of our Lord and Messiah just a nice historical memory of events that occurred long ago, meant to make us feel good about the little struggles of our everyday lives? Or do we hope indeed that the Christ will stop all pain, all suffering, all heartbreak, all meaningless deaths, and all strife that engulfs the world as we know it?
For the sake of Abegail, and all the other poor children at risk in the world, I hope and believe.