O Little Town of Bethlehem
I have really been loving this series that we are going through this Advent season. If anything, it has given me even more of a reason to listen to the Songs of the Season, although I am not sure I needed much of a reason in the first place.
This week, we will get the distinct honor and privilege to once again hear from one of our own: Steve Brue. Steve is a former Lutheran Brethren pastor and principal at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in Fergus Falls, so we are in for a treat as he shares with us from God’s Word.
Our song for this week is “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and this is one of my personal favorites when it comes to carols. I can still remember singing this song to my son Luke when he was a baby as I would put him to bed. I will admit that this even took place in the summertime, but no one else was there to hear so I figured there would be no harm done.
One of the components of this song that strikes me the most is the irony behind it. From the very first line we sing, “O little town of Bethlehem…” This adjective used to describe the town of Bethlehem carries around so many connotations and connections with it and most of them are not the greatest. In our culture today, bigger is better. We are told that a 65” TV is better than a 40” one. It’s the classic small town-big city rivalry. Something that is big is seen as significant, important, impressive, and practical. Something that is small tends to be seen as just not up to par.
But this is the beauty and wonder of how our God works because time and time again we read in His Word that He operates on a much different scale. In God’s order of the universe, bigger is not necessarily better or more significant. Often times, God will use the small, weak, and seemingly insignificant things for His greater purposes. Just taking a look at the family lineage of Jesus will reveal a history of people who were seen by many to be nobodies and yet God used them for divine purposes.
And so, we come to little Bethlehem. Bethlehem was a sleepy, quiet town that was no booming center of commerce or culture like Jerusalem. Bethlehem was out of the bigger picture and yet this was the place where the Savior would be born. Significance would once again shine out of the seemingly insignificant as God would act again. In Micah 5:2, we read: “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.”
I am really glad that God chooses to work through that which is seen as weak because that is where myself and most of us are at. On our own, we aren’t that big of a deal and yet God chooses to use us for His greater purposes. How amazing is that?! Let us be blown away again this Advent season by how our God works and may we be given eyes to see God at work in the little things.
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Pastor Ben Bigaouette