So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

Luke 2: 4

Bethlehem was like any other town in the hills of Judea. And yet it was the birthplace of the greatest king of Israel, David, and one thousand years later, the Messiah.

How does such an honor come to the ordinary?

Were the people of this town particularly worthy?

Was there some great strategic advantage to where it lay?

Were the people of Bethlehem politically savvy, having a long history of producing great leaders?

Not at all. The little town of Bethlehem was in the shadow of great Jerusalem just six miles to the north. Even the meaning of Bethlehem, “house of bread,” is unremarkable.

But hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Micah predicted the destiny of an unremarkable, small place: “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” (Mic. 5: 2).

The townspeople of Bethlehem were surely proud to be the “Town of David” and the home of King David’s famous grandmother, Ruth. Proud also, to be the location of the tomb of Rachel, Jacob’s beloved wife. Yet, they must have wondered what Micah’s prophecy really meant. When would another prophet like Samuel come to town and anoint a new king, just as he had done with the boy David?

But it didn’t happen that way. On an ordinary day, while men plied their trades and women baked bread and children played in the streets, a traveling couple from Nazareth arrived looking for a room. They received no special treatment. No one offered them a room. Ordinary people were having an ordinary response to an ordinary looking couple.

Honor comes to the ordinary because of God’s choice, whether it is God’s choice to use a town, or a nation, or even a single man or woman, boy or girl. So if this is shaping up to be an ordinary day for you— be prepared. That’s the stage on which the acts of God are played.

Prayer for today:

Dear God, it so easy for us to assume that nothing exciting will happen with the ordinary. Help us this Christmas to see the amazing things you do when you choose to use the ordinary.

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