5 Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike the judge of Israel on the cheek. 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. 3 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. 4 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. 5 And he shall be their peace.
When the Assyrian comes into our land and treads in our palaces, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men;
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
According to our reading above Micah prophesied a ruler would come from Bethlehem, this ruler would be one who would shepherd God’s people and bring peace.
“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 5:2
Christmas celebrates God fulfilling this promise, but I wonder how our lives reflect the promise.
What I wonder is how a season marked by a message of peace can become one of the most stressful seasons of all. We sing about peace, peace on earth, yet rush through each day without it. Does that happen to you? Sometimes I get so wrapped up in busyness of the season, all the good things to be enjoying, however each day seems less joyful and peaceful than the day before. What if this year it could be different?
Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The social pressure to buy the perfect gift, to accept every invitation, and fulfill every “holiday tradition” isn’t going away any time soon. Someone I read a while ago said, “We bring peace to the chaos by learning to pray before we plan.” That’s a good piece of advice, isn’t it? Pray First!
Let us not forget that God desires to be engaged in every “square inch” of our lives, that includes how we celebrate His gift to us in Jesus.
Jesus is our source of peace. Perhaps a practice/discipline of slowing down to pray, to talk to him and to read His Word would help us experience the promise of peace in our lives. One of our members posted on Facebook last week the idea of reading a chapter a day from Luke's gospel beginning December 1 and by December 24 you will have read the whole of the Gospel. Maybe that would help us slow down to experience peace. Isaiah declares these words “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
The prophecy in Micah is a promise to us. We, too, can enjoy the peace Jesus brings in any season of life.
When we feel like we don’t have enough, taking time to give thanks reminds us how much we already have. What can you thank Jesus for right now?
Is the lead up to Christmas stressing you out? Take some time today to ask God how He wants you to celebrate this year.