“The Road to Bethlehem” Advent devotion for November 28, 2021
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 going to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. (Micah 2:5)
The 2010 census reported Monowi, Nebraska was home to just one person, giving it the distinction of being the smallest town in the United States. The only person who lives there, Elsie Eiler. As mayor, she issued herself a liquor license for her bar, the Monowi Tavern. Monowi is on the map because it’s so small!
The little town of Bethlehem was even smaller, too little to be mentioned in the list of the clans of Judah who settled in the promised land of Canaan (Joshua 15:20-63). Bethlehem is on the map, though, for it would be the hometown of a ruler for God’s people.
What a ruler this would be! He was promised long ago to the man and the woman exiled from the garden of Eden. He would be known for justice, righteousness and peace. His reign would have no end. This ruler would be the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth would bow to his name, the name of Jesus.
We’ve all felt insignificant. Too short to ride the amusement park rides. Not talented enough to make the team. That handsome young man or gorgeous woman doesn’t even know we’re alive. Passover over for a promotion. Again.
But to God you are important. He knows your name. He hears and answers your prayers. He’s prepared a place for you in eternity. He gave gave up his one and only son for you. You are significant because of who he is and what he has done for you.
Bethlehem Ephrathah is a great reminder of how God likes to use small, unnoticed, humble places and people to do his greatest work in this world. Like he did with Mary, a young woman from Nazareth. Or David, too small to fit in a uniform. How about Paul, who knew he was the least of all God’s saints. And the widow whose offering of two mites was worth so much to Jesus.
We all feel a little “too little” from time to time. And yet from us comes a reason for hope, an effective prayer, a song of praise, and a sacrificial love.
Lord, thank you for the little places and the small ways that you bring your gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation into the world and into my life. Remind me to always base my self worth on you and your love. Amen.