advent wonders, angelic voices
the smallest in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth.
5 And he shall be their peace.’ Micah 5
I have walked the hills and fields surrounding Bethlehem and in the town itself. The people there are Palestinians thru and through. All places, for me, are composed of their peoples, the fields have its shepherds, flocks and farmers; the town its small businesses and restaurants. The town buildings and streets are papered with praises of Allah and demands for unbelievers to depart.
Bethlehem’s peoples love to speak. A friend shared with me that they were people of ‘tent’; and people who love to gossip, ‘ who speak as the winds, blowing.’
Bethlehem before Jesus spoke in the softest, the gentle less of voices. Micah, a prophet grouped with others called by academics, the ‘lesser prophets’ speaks God’s, words, his gifts to us. Less calls to, speaks of less.
In my thoughts, my memories, my life, I am small, really somewhat insignificant. Forgotten ,rejected, betrayed by others and myself, I – in truth – grow smaller with time and peoples.
I am as a sheep on a hill, in a pasture.
Advent is a time of unspoken expectations; silenced worries and concerns. For me these moments, these Advent times, have always been laced with sadness. Visually, trees have let go of their leaves; dark nights come as days let light fade. And in 2020 people await a vaccine, a small liquid to cure an invisible and even smaller virus. We wait for a saving, a cure: a return of, to peace.
Israel, Bethlehem also waited. And Jesus came.
He came as a baby, the softest and smallest of things that can be held. He came into a broken marriage that needed resurrection. He came to the smallest of towns, Bethlehem, from the most broken of worlds. Why?
He came to give a physical form to prophet’s words; Jesus came to listen those silenced and to those self-silenced; he came to speak for the sinner and the meek. And he, Jesus, still comes. And Micah’s soft angelic prophetic voice sings
‘Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
in days long ago.’
Jesus comes in Micah’s whisper, ‘… you will be faithful…’
Advent comes. Jesus has been, is and will always be faithful to his promise embedded in Bethlehem of his birth: my sins and sadness; my rejections and betrays. Silences and my own sins and self-silencing is gone.
Trampled underfoot, hurled away, my sins no longer shout unto me. In Advent comes the softest of sounds, the silence of peace, ‘forgiveness.’
Advent wonders, songs, mercy, forgiveness.