Micah 5:2–5a (NRSV)
Verse 2But 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. Verse 3Therefore 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. Verse 4And 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; Verse 5and he shall be the one of peace. If the Assyrians come into our land and tread upon our soil, we will raise against them seven shepherds and eight installed as rulers.
Today’s reading uses imagery of pregnancy and labor. If you have ever waited for the birth of a child, you know the anticipation, the sense of wonder, and the stress it involves. That child is going to change your life, but for now, you are waiting … waiting.
Advent, too, is a time of waiting, a time of anticipation, and yes, of stress. We are often overwhelmed with lengthy to-do lists: planning holiday events, Christmas shopping, baking treats. With the business of the season, it is easy to forget how Israel was waiting for the Messiah. The child that came long ago not only changed the life of his family, but changed the lives of the entire world. This Advent let’s keep that sense of wonder and anticipation for the coming Messiah. Let’s put that child who saved the world at the center of our lives and thank God for such a gift.
Merciful God, we anticipate the coming of the Christ-child this Advent season. We pray that we don’t get caught up in the daily stresses of life and that we keep Christ at the center of our lives. Amen.