This Advent season, we here at Westbury are exploring the question, "How Far Is It To Bethlehem?" The focus is on making Christ incarnate in our hearts...and in the world around us.
This Sunday, my message will be "God of the Runt," from Micah 5:2-5. We have a romanticized notion of Bethlehem today, influenced more by Christmas cards and Phillips Brooks' famous carol ("O Little Town of Bethlehem") than by reality. The actual village of Bethlehem was a very unlikely place for a Messiah to be born...like most of the other circumstances of Jesus' birth. This fact brings up certain questions:
Why would God choose an insignificant spot on the map for such a historic event?
For that matter, why does every character in Scripture seem to have some unsavory or undesirable element in his/her past?
Is there anything we can do to disqualify ourselves from being useful to God?
How should this change the way I look at other people? Or myself?