Summary: Great things come from small beginnings. This is what we can learn on that first Christmas when Christ was born of humble beginnings and rose to be King of Israel.
THE BIRTH OF THE SAVIOR
Micah 5:2 (NIV) "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."
Our sermon series on the Book of Joshua will continue next year to give way for our mini-series on celebrating the birth of Christ this Christmas season.
The focus of celebrating Christmas should be centered around the birth of Christ, our Savior.
We need to look at its significance, its relevance, and its implications to our lives in our ever changing culture.
Once we fail to focus on its real meaning and purpose, we will fail to grasp the beauty of the season.
Christ and Christ alone, is the center of attraction that makes Christmas the most festive and joyful time of the year.
But the problem is, many people nowadays have lost sight of its meaning.
Everywhere around us, people of various cultures and countries celebrate Christmas as a yearly tradition.
In our native country, the Philippines, for instance, we celebrate Christmas as early as September by playing Christmas carols.
Then, we usually hung the "parol" consisting of a bamboo pole or frame with a lighted star lantern on it with colorful lights.
And of course, we will not forget the midnight feast called the Noche Buena where we serve lechon, ham, fruit salad, rice cakes (bibingka and puto bumbong) with the entire family and neighbors celebrating and dropping to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
Also, on that night before Christmas, the children are excited hanging stockings for Santa to put his gifts.
Then the next morning, during Christmas day, children would go to their ninongs and ninangs to give their respect and receive more gifts.
That is why they said that Christmas is for children.
The truth is, Christmas is not just for the children but for all ages alike if you focus on its real significance.
My goal in our mini Christmas series is to go over with you several Old Testament Scriptural prophecies such as from Micah, from Isaiah and Psalms regarding the birth of Christ.
It is important for us to re-discover and re-focus our sights on Christ as the center of attraction for Christmas.
For after all, without Christ, there is no Christmas.
"Christmas always begins with Christ."
"Christmas reminds me that Christ is Mine and I am His." Angelica Hagman
Today, we will start on Micah 5:2 (NIV) "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."
The Hebrew meaning of the prophet's name Micah is a short version of "Who is like Yahweh?"
It means, there is no one like Him, our Lord and Savior.
Micah lived during the times of the kings of Judah - Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah.
His contemporary prophets were Isaiah, Amos and Hosea.
This small book was probably written during the eight century BC (735-700 BC) before the Babylonian captivity.
Micah the prophet was warning them of the impending judgment because of their disobedience to God's covenant.
He condemns the rulers, the priests and the prophets of Israel who exploit and mislead the people into idolatry.
It is because of their deeds that people turned away from God and Jerusalem will be destroyed.
But at the same time, he was affirming the coming deliverance and restoration of His people by the Sovereign Lord who governs the destiny of the nations.
In Micah, we will discover that the people have sinned.
God will judge the sin of the people.
God will not protect his people from the consequences of their actions.
But God will restore and forgive His people by bringing them back from Babylon.
God promises to send them a Savior.
Micah focused his attention on the birth of the Savior in that little town of Bethlehem as the source of all hope in the midst of the impending conflict at that time.
Someday, a ruler will be born who will purge the nation of the sin of idolatry, usher the kingdom of God and implement the reign of peace and prosperity.
Someday, that powerful Messiah who existed from ancient times and had been born of humble beginnings will triumph over all sin and evil forces.
This is actually the message of that first Christmas.
It is not the fun fare, it is not the lights, it is not the gifts, all of these are good but the best message is about the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ.
There are three things that we will talk about from Micah chapter 5.
THE HUMBLE BIRTH OF THE SAVIOR