In a communications class in college, my professor made a comment that has stayed with me for nearly thirty years now: “News happens where we place reporters.” She did not mean that important events happen only where news reporters are stationed. Rather, the news we hear or read comes to us because someone is there to tell the story. News happens every day, but we do not hear about it because no one is in that location to report the events. If the story is big enough, we may hear about it several days later because it takes time for a reporter to travel to the location. We frequently hear the news from places where governments are located or from large cities because these are the locations where news agencies place their reporters. We expect the news to come from London, Tokyo, or New York.
Granted, this situation has changed drastically in the last thirty years with the invention of cell phones and the Internet. Now anyone with a camera and a network can create a story to share with a large audience around the world. However, most of us still look to the major news centers, the large cities, the places of power and prestige to get our news.
Micah tells of a redemption that will come from an unexpected place. Micah says, Do not look to Jerusalem, the large city and center of government. Look instead to Bethlehem, that tiny place among all the towns and hamlets of Judah. From this often overlooked little spot, one will emerge who will be great over all the earth.
Advent reminds us that no place is too small for God’s presence.
Lord, there is nowhere I can go to escape your presence. Make me mindful of your presence wherever I am today. Amen.
As Christians we understand that our faith is rooted in the ongoing story of God’s faithfulness to God’s people. Micah celebrates this story, prophesying that the true king of Israel will one day come from the small village of Bethlehem, Jesus’ birthplace. Luke features women prominently throughout his Gospel. The two readings from Luke this week highlight the prophetic insights of Elizabeth and Mary. Mary visits Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John, God’s messenger. After Elizabeth identifies Mary as the mother of the Lord, Mary breaks into song, understanding that her story is tied to the fulfillment of God’s promises going back to Abraham. Little does she know that her son will one day offer his body as a sacrifice for all, as Hebrews tells us.
• Read Micah 5:2-5a. What “small” beginnings have yielded great results in your life?
• Read Psalm 80:1-7. How does this psalm of lament speak to you? When has God restored you and shone the light of divine love on you?
• Read Hebrews 10:5-10. What do you believe God desires from you? In what ways does Jesus’ life of obedience help you understand God’s intention for you and the world?
• Read Luke 1:39-55. When have you been stopped in your tracks by meeting unexpectedly an old acquaintance? How did God speak to you in that encounter?
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