Monday December 17

Micah 5:2–5a “But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.  3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel.  4 And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth;  5 and he shall be the one of peace. If the Assyrians come into our land and tread upon our soil, we will raise against them seven shepherds and eight installed as rulers.”

If you’re engaged in some aspect of church ministry, perhaps there isn’t much at one week before Christmas Eve that feels like peace. Even if you’re not in a formal ministry position, you’re likely busy planning and preparing for Christmas celebrations with family and friends and doing some last-minute shopping. But as the prophet Micah foreshadows in this passage, the peace of the Lord is something that magnifies God’s limitless power by breaking into the lives of everyone, even a little clan of Judah. Granted, the peace he was likely referring to wasn’t a reference to relief from busy holiday schedules, but actual conflict with the neighboring Assyrians. Perhaps we know some aspects of conflict too well in our own context—with neighbors abroad or even next door. Pray with the whole church this Advent that the Lord may fill you, and even whoever or whatever causes you conflict, with hope for peace in all times.

Prince of Peace, in this time of waiting, give us the strength to do what should require little strength: to know and dwell fully in your peace. Amen.

Advent Photo Challenge:  Take a picture each day during Advent and share on your social media platform of choice with #stpauladvent
Today’s picture inspiration: Fill