This weekly series is brought to you by OBHC President, Greg McNeece. Click here to learn more about Greg. From our OBHC family to yours, we are delighted to share the joy of Advent.
Week Two: “Bethlehem Candle”
As a part of the Advent season, you will light two candles, the one from last week and a second purple candle.
Last week, as we observed the beginning of the Advent, we observed the first candle of the Advent wreath which is called the prophecy candle. It reminded us of how God spoke to His people through the prophets, offering them the hope of a Savior. It also reminds us of the faithfulness of God’s promises, so that we can live in hope in our depraved world.
The second Advent candle is traditionally called the Bethlehem Candle. Bethlehem reminds us that God came to us in the humble and simple. Bethlehem was in the territory of one of the least influential tribes of Judah, yet out of Bethlehem comes the King of Kings. Bethlehem reminds us that Jesus was born in a small, ordinary town; that he was born in a stable was full of animals, and he was born to people with no fame. As Jesus was born, God set His star above Bethlehem that night. Bethlehem is God’s statement that God does great and wonderful things from humble beginnings. God also fills our ordinary lives with His light.
As you and or your loved ones participate in this weeks’ time of the Advent, we need to spend time in remembering and focus upon the very simple but yet extravagant gift that God gave to us through his Son, Jesus. The scripture for today will also come from the Old Testament, as it did last week.
Light the purple candle from last week (the Prophecy candle) and light a second purple candle (the Bethlehem candle). These two candles will be re-lit each week going forward.
Read Micah 5:2-4 Holman Christian Standard Version:
Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity.
Therefore, He will abandon them until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of His brothers will return to the people of Israel.
He will stand and shepherd them in the strength of Yahweh, in the majestic name of Yahweh His God. They will live securely, for then His greatness will extend to the ends of the earth.
If you are by yourself, or if gathered with others, each person can share what they think was really going on in and around the stable. In our mind, we have created the stable to be a place where peace and tranquility abide. Can you imagine what it was really like? Can you articulate this new idea of the stable? There were many, many animals present (remember the inn was full), potentially people were outside, and certainly they would have gathered around with all the activity which filled the stable. Bethlehem is more than a town, more than a location. For believers, it signifies the beginning.
Father, today as I read Micah and realized that you many times foretold the birth of Jesus through scripture. You also brought Him into a setting and location that was humble, unassuming and certainly was miles away from any idea of royalty. I pray that today as I light the Bethlehem candle, it will remind me of the importance of the humble and simple things in Jesus’ life. Remind me to honor and emulate those same characteristics in my world today. Amen.