Little Bethlehem


Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;
siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel
on the cheek.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
to the people of Israel. Micah 5:1-3 ESV

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:1-7 ESV


Cambridge, Ohio, is a small town with a population of about 13,000 people. Cambridge is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and the closest large city is 50 miles away. Sometimes people visit Cambridge because there are two beautiful lakes nearby, but there are no large museums, big sports teams, or major theaters. Many people would say that Cambridge is not a very important place, and they wouldn’t think of it as a place they would want to visit, but there is one thing that the city can be very proud of. An astronaut named John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the earth, was born there. This makes the city of Cambridge a very special and important place.

The prophet Micah lived around the same time as the prophet Isaiah, and he gave the same messages of comfort and hope to the southern kingdom of Judah when they were being threatened by the Assyrians. Micah looked far into the future, to a time when God would send someone to help and save his people. The prophet talked about the promised Savior as someone who would rule God’s people, but who would at the same time have been there from ancient times. God himself would be the promised Savior, coming as a human baby to live among his people. Micah even told where the promised Savior would be born–in the little town of Bethlehem. Bethlehem was the town where King David had been born, but it was a small town and no one thought it was very important. But this was the place where God promised that the Savior would be born. God’s people would know hard times, but they could look forward to a Savior who would bring his people home.

Jesus is the promised Savior. He was born in Bethlehem, just as Micah said, and he brought many people back to their Heavenly Father. Jesus came to live among us as one of us, and he understands our feelings and our needs because he went through the same kinds of things we do. He died on the cross to save us and bring us back to God. He loves us and watches over us, whether we are from a big city or a small town, and will someday gather all his people together into his heavenly kingdom.


Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to save us and for bringing us back to our Heavenly Father. Amen.