Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

Micah 5:4-5 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.  And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.  And he shall be their peace…

I wonder what it must have been like to read or hear these words from the prophet Micah before the Christ-child was actually born…did it stir excitement deep in their souls?  Did this expectant joy carry hope for those in desperate times who were holding on by a thread?  Did it seem like a fool’s hope, a fairy tale of a joke for those who didn’t believe their God could possibly be interested in rescuing such an undeserving sinner?  During the time of Micah, the nation of Israel was split, and he predicted the fall of the northern kingdom’s capital (Samaria) as well as the inevitable desolation of Judah.  These were not peaceful times for the nation nor its people.

Today we stand on the other side of this miraculous event that Micah foretold.  The one to be born in little Bethlehem has come.  The one to shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord has come.  The one who would be our peace has come.  He came and lived a life among us that culminated in his rescue of us and the defeat of death. In fact, he still lives to this day, sitting at the right hand of the Father and interceding on our behalf.

So where does this leave you?  What is it like for you on the flip side of Emmanuel (God with us)?  Does it stir excitement deep in your soul?  Does the joy of Christ carry hope for you who are in desperate times and holding on only by a thread?  Does it seem like a fool’s hope, a fairy tale of a joke for you who don’t believe God could possibly be interested in rescuing such an underserving sinner?

I truly hope this season brings joy and excitement for you.  But for those who approach with trepidation, take heart.  We are all underserving of the rescue brought to us through the gift of the Christ-child.  In fact, that is exactly the point.  Christ says so himself in Mark 2:17: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”  He does it for our benefit and His glory.

My hope for you this Christmas season is that you will truly experience the joy and wonder of the shepherd that Micah spoke about so many, many years ago!

Merry Christmas!

Jeremiah Harder