Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace.
Devotion by Anne Mooney
The season of Advent is about waiting. We have to wait a lot in life. We wait in lines. We wait for holidays and vacations to arrive. We wait for our paychecks to come. We wait for the weekend. And we wait for babies to be born, sick friends to get well, and aged parents to pass on. Waiting is often hard and mundane. It can be downright boring and frustrating. But it can also be a time to anticipate and reflect on what we want out of what we are waiting for. It can be a time for our imaginations to soar.
When Micah wrote this prophecy, the people of Israel were not in a good place. They were suffering from poor leadership that had failed to respect the authority of God. The neighboring Assyrians were powerful and ready to take over their lands. They were entering yet another time of suffering.
But Micah offers some hopeful reflection. The suffering of his people is temporary, like a woman’s pain in childbirth. And God is sending a shepherd to guide and care for his people. New Testament scripture refers to this passage as a promise of Jesus’ coming. So today, we wait for Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. We wait for his coming comfort, wisdom, and love. We wait knowing we will not be alone in our daily struggles. God understands them because Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us had them too.