Our Bible verse for today: “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; one will come from you to be ruler over Israel for me. His origin is from antiquity, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “God loves to use ordinary people to do great things.”
Of all the places God could have chosen for Jesus to be born, Bethlehem was one of the least likely locations. It was an out-of-the-way backwater little village that few people had ever heard of and still fewer people ever went to. There was no reason for people to go there. There was nothing there.
Likewise, of all the people God could have chosen to be the human parents of the baby Jesus, why Mary and Joseph? She was an uneducated teenage peasant girl. He was a simple carpenter of no distinction. Why them?
It would have seemed to have made more sense for Jesus to have been born to a High Priest and his wife. Then Jesus would have grown up as religious nobility. And as for location, why not Jerusalem instead of Bethlehem? Talk about a high profile birth! The much anticipated baby of the High Priest and His wife, born under the best and most sanitary of circumstances in the cosmopolitan city of Jerusalem. Surely that makes more sense than a filthy animal shelter on the outskirts of a place like Bethlehem.
But no. Bethlehem it was. To Mary and Joseph. In the hay. Among the animals.
God actually prefers to use the common and the ordinary instead of spectacular locations and famous celebrities. Oh yes, the world does need our Billy Grahams, Rick Warrens, and Lottie Moons. High profile people filling stadiums, writing best selling books, and doing pioneering mission work are needed. And without question the Sistine Chapel is a remarkable work of religious art and architecture that has inspired millions of people for hundreds of years. All of that is needed.
But God does His best work, and most of His work, through the simple circumstances and everyday lives of ordinary people like you and me. The Christian world is populated almost entirely by people like you and me, not like Billy Graham and Lottie Moon. And most places of worship in the world look more like your church and mine, not like the Sistine Chapel.
The nativity scene in Bethlehem serves to remind us that God loves to use ordinary circumstances like yours and mine, and simple everyday people like you and me, to accomplish the majority of His work in this world.
Your current circumstances are very useful to God. Your life matters to God. YOU matter to God. Bethlehem proves it.