The Trip to Bethlehem

An Advent Devotion for December 22
Read Micah 5:2-5

“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.” Micah 5:2

Bethlehem is called the City of David because the great King David grew up there. Another name is “House of Bread” for it’s fertile ground. It is the place where Jacob’s wife Rachel died and where Ruth found compassion ( see the Biblical book of Ruth).

For Mary and Joseph the route to Bethlehem began when Caesar August decided that everyone needed to return the village of their ancestors to be accessed for taxes. Quirinius was given the job to make it happen. According to the structures in place at that time, Mary and Joseph both had to go and be accounted for.

Unknown to the powerful and mighty and clearly unknown to Augustus, his demand that all people return to their ancestral homeland, will bring about the fulfillment of the words of the prophet Micah
“But you, O Bethlehem . . ,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel”

The wise, proud and powerful make their plans. Yet it is God who works in the midst of those plans, bringing good out of evil, twisting dynamics till truth is born. Michael Perry’s Christmas Hymn reminds us of the prophets and the plans of God.

“Blest be the God of Israel,
who comes to set us free;
who visits and redeems us,
who grants us liberty.
The prophets spoke of mercy,
of freedom and release;
God shall fulfill that promise
and bring the people peace.”

Prayer: Gracious God, remind us that you are working in the world even when the powerful manipulate events for selfish gain, and when they resist the work of your love and compassion. Remind us, that you really are in control, especially when we doubt. Amen.

Additional Advent & Christmastide Devotions can be found by clicking here:   Advent & Christmastide Devotions

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