“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
"He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth." (Micah 5:2, 4)
Bethlehem - small and irrelevant. But, from an unexpected place was born the Messiah, the Anointed One of Israel.
Angelic announcements and a Virgin Birth.
A baby born in scandal to a teenaged girl and confused husband.
A small outpost at the edge of the Empire.
No room for the young couple traveling far from home.
Lowly, Shepherds - the outcasts of society come to worship.
Pagan Astrologers from the East following a star.
Gifts that foretold glory and suffering.
A madman King in a murderous rage.
A Dragon trying to devour the offspring of the woman after a war in Heaven.
A quick escape for the couple and baby to the land of slavery.
A prophecy of salvation and future sorrow.
The story is fantastic and unexpected and we would not write it. God became small, put on flesh, and made His dwelling among men. God humbled Himself and became weak so that His true power and love would be made known to His Creation through His death. We would not have written this story. It seems ridiculous on the surface and not at all how a king would arrive. But, under the surface and past all our objections, the story rings incredibly true. It is the Story behind all the other stories and we are drawn to it. It works past our objections and takes root in our imagination and we intuitively know that it is right - that God favors the weak and the helpless and the poor. We somehow know that death is not the end of our story and that it is better to give than to receive. Sure, some, like Herod, try to cover up the story and stamp it out. But, they fade from history and we know that their tyranny is not the Story. It is an aberration.
The True King has come from a small, insignificant place and He speaks directly to the insignificance that we all feel. Christmas is the time that life erupts unexpectedly. For, unto us a child is born and we have never been the same.