(Photo: Lindy Twaddle)
Micah 5:1-5a (NIV UK)
1 Marshal your troops now, city of troops,
for a siege is laid against us.
They will strike Israel’s ruler
on the cheek with a rod.
2 ‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.’
3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labour bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
to join the Israelites.
4 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.
5 And he will be our peace
when the Assyrians invade our land
and march through our fortresses.
In those dark moments when we wonder if anyone cares, or if we matter to anyone, a feeling that crushes us and weighs us down … an emotional dead weight on our soul … in those moments of emotional confusion … when the outlook is bleak … the faith of the Church rings across the centuries, sending a message of confidence and hope into the very fibres of our soul: ‘a mother may forget her child’ (Isaiah 49:15), but God will never reject us, or forget how important we are to him.
Bethlehem today is a bustling town full of issues and hurts, pressure points and broken dreams. Lord, comfort your children there, and in all the other Bethlehems, wherever the divide between possibility and reality is so painfully obvious.