Advent Devotional - Day 3

Tuesday, December 1
Micah 7:6-8

Every generation has expectations or ways of doing things that might seem strange to the ones that came before. Change seems part and parcel with being human, and it’s often very healthy. Still, there are tenacious norms, patterns that many say “should” exist, or that have long been consistent throughout years and centuries.

In this passage, the prophet Micah describes one such pattern, or rather the unsettling disruption of it. For Micah and those to whom he was speaking, family was intended to be a safe, supportive dynamic. Parents were to care for their children, and children were to love and respect the parents who raised them. Micah’s description in this passage would have been horrifying to those who hear it: a son dishonoring his father, a daughter rising up against her mother, and a family turned against one another as enemies. Something was very wrong here. What should have been stable and supportive, a family whose love for one another just made sense, was turned upon its head.

This might hit uncomfortably close to home for some of us. Perhaps your own family isn’t something that you would characterize as “safe” at all. Perhaps, for you, Micah’s description of a family turned against one another doesn’t feel alien, but rather all too familiar. Or, perhaps this unsettling description reminds you of other kinds of relationships that “should” function in one way but seem to have completely gone off of the rails. What we quickly realize, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, is that “should” often falls apart when it encounters human beings.

Micah seems all too aware of this, turning to the hope of what remains consistent even in the midst of all human effort and failure. Whether family or nation was safe or unsafe, the prophet watches “in hope for the Lord,” waiting for the God who will save and hear him. Whether he finds himself in the bright hours of dawn or the deep darkness of night, Micah proclaims (in what might feel to some like a weary whisper) that “the Lord will be my light.” For Micah, hope isn’t dependent upon circumstances, but rather upon what persists despite them. No matter what was happening in the family, the city, the nation, or the world, the God who made him would remain faithful to him. No matter how much it seemed like darkness had the upper hand, the fierce fire of God’s love was promised in the sunrise.

In what may seem like one of the more unsettling, disruptive times many of us have experienced, the prophet’s ancient writings can serve as invitation. During Advent, we are invited to join Micah in waiting and hoping for the bright sun of God’s faithfulness to be unveiled. As we wait for Christmas, we can remember that God has given a name to that fire of hope. That name is Jesus, and his light is both now and returning.

Thanks be to God.

Reflection by Adam Baker

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