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.” Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. 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. And he will be our peace.Micah 5:2–5
Who Do You Want to Be?
I think the word “humble” gets a bad rap in today’s society. It goes along with adjectives like meek and mild and quiet, describing someone who unassumingly stands at the back of the room. It seems that our culture values loud and proud and assertive and strong above almost everything else. Just listen to the news, or read your news feed and you’ll surely agree. The person that speaks with the most passion is almost always at the front of the line, demanding not begging for our attention. We can’t help but bend our ears, or eyes, to what they have to say.
The passage from Micah speaks of a different structure. Here the “small” (in The Message paraphrase “the runt of the litter”) will be the branch of the family tree from which the ruler who has been promised will come. The black sheep will produce the Lamb, the One who will be our peace. What an absolutely upside down notion this is to our world.
Even in our own lives, whether in our social media pages and profiles, or real-life introductions or web site bios, don’t we often skip over the less-than-ideal parts of our story? Even if we don’t consider ourselves “proud,” don’t we sometimes omit an upbringing that we don’t feel serves our current persona? We’re just trying to be the best version of ourselves, aren’t we?
Curated vs. Real Version
But maybe we aren’t intended to be the most carefully curated version of ourselves, and instead the real version of ourselves––warts and all. Maybe we don’t have to be the loudest to be noticed. Maybe we can all hit mute on the voices hollering for our attention, and look around, even at the most unexpected places, or people, or parts of our own story to find evidence of grace and love. Maybe it is through us laying down the idea of who and how we are supposed to be from the world’s perspective and focusing on how He has made us and called us to be that we can best embody Christ to the world around us––the same Christ who humbled himself to leave heaven to come to earth, to be born in a stable, to be laid in a manger, to live among us, and to die a most humiliating death in order to atone for our sins.
This Advent season, let’s embrace the invitation to be humble, and maybe we’ll be surprised at how even the least among us can be used to share His story.