Justin and I have a Christmas tradition of reading parts of the Christmas story in the few days surrounding Christmas. I thought I’d share my readings with you. Today we’ll start by reading some of the Old Testament. I’m constantly amazed at how beautiful the OT is, how amazingly it fits together with the New Testament and how so much of the gospel is talked about hundreds of years before the people were alive. God is truly amazing to have orchestrated such a great book!

1 Mobilize! Marshal your troops!
The enemy is laying siege to Jerusalem.
They will strike Israel’s leader
in the face with a rod.

2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you,
one whose origins are from the distant past.
3 The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies
until the woman in labor gives birth.
Then at last his fellow countrymen
will return from exile to their own land.
4 And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
Then his people will live there undisturbed,
for he will be highly honored around the world.
5 And he will be the source of peace.

When the Assyrians invade our land
and break through our defenses,
we will appoint seven rulers to watch over us,
eight princes to lead us.

I really like this scripture because there’s so much turmoil – the enemy moving in to destroy Jerusalem, the Assyrians gaining power – and in the midst of it, a few simple sentences about their future Savior.  It’s almost like God is saying “Yes, yes, things are bad – but even in this, there is hope.”

I love that even in the time of judgement and anger God gives them a message to lighten their spirits.