by Katie Pearson
“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. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel. 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.” – Micah 5:2-5a
Even as a child I loved hearing the Old Testament prophecies regarding the birth of Christ. While the Scriptures relay the mystery of the incarnation, there is such certainty in their tone and details in their descriptions. It’s highly unlikely that Micah would declare Bethlehem the eventual birthplace of Jesus if he were questioning God’s voice. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to possess just a fraction of the prophet’s faith and conviction? While we don’t have all the details, we know that they spoke up despite great opposition and doubt, even from their own people. Such strength only comes from the Spirit of God infusing them with courage and holy confidence.
In preparing our hearts to receive the Lord, it’s important to regularly reexamine our faith. How certain are you that Jesus came as an infant and will one day return to make all things new? Have the Spirit of God and the holiness of the season truly captured your heart? What a gift to our souls that we get to return annually to celebrate Christmas. In the hustle and bustle of life, we need a reminder and reason to restore a sense of wonder. Without Christmas on our calendars and the traditions woven into our homes and churches, would we ever open our Bibles to read these prophetic passages and reconnect with the bigger picture that reorients our hearts toward hope and eternity? We need the magic of this season because the sights, sounds, and reunions of Christmas bypass our analytical minds and send us straight back to our hearts, where the Holy Spirit resides.
Is your heart too cluttered with tasks or concerns to allow wonder to hold court this Christmas? What would it take for this season to be “wonder-FULL” again and restore the magic of the Christmas story for your soul?
One of the surest routes to restoring wonder is returning to activities that captured your heart as a child. Even if it seems silly, consider what left you breathless with joy unspeakable when you were young. Start with your senses: was it something visible, like the twinkling lights of your Christmas tree? Or perhaps it was a sound, like your parent’s favorite Christmas album? Maybe it was the smell of gingerbread baking in the oven, or something you loved to do, like walk out into the falling snow after dark and listen to the silence? Whether or not you have positive memories of your family as a child, spend time considering experiences that reached deep into your soul—perhaps at school, a friend’s house, or alone? God was there.
Lord Jesus, the Christmas story is so breathtaking, and yet my heart is full of everything but the magic I so easily experienced as a child. Please open my eyes and heart to the wonder of your birth in the most unlikely of places, just as the prophets foretold so long ago. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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