“And you, Bethlehem, house of Ephratha, are few in number to be reckoned among the thousands of Juda; yet out of you shall one come out (ἐξελεύσεται) to me, to be a ruler of Israel; and his comings out (his exodus-es, αἱ ἔξοδοι αὐτοῦ) were from the beginning (ἀπ᾽ἀρχῆς), even from eternity. Therefore shall he give them (to wait), till the time that she who is in labor gives birth, and then the remnant of their brethren shall return to the children of Israel.” (Micah 5: 1-2, Septuagint-translation)
As those of us on the Older Calendar begin the second day of the Forefeast of Christmas, and NC-people – of the Forefeast of Theophany, I’m looking at this well-known prophecy about the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. It strikes me this morning that it is called not an “entrance,“ and not a “coming in“ to our world, but rather a “coming out,“ to the mission of His Father. Indeed, our God is not One Who Self-isolates, but Who “steps out“ and extends Himself, again and again, sharing His Being with us and other creation “from the beginning,“ in different ways. And His only-begotten Son “comes out“ in a world not-exactly welcoming, or even safe, for Him and His human “family.“ Christ’s “exodus“ from the womb of the Theotokos is soon followed by the “exodus“ of the whole Family to Egypt, – and thus will His earthly life continue, exposed to all sorts of insecurities and death, – until His death-trampling “exodus“ from the Tomb.
As God’s only-begotten Son “comes out“ to share our vulnerabilities, (both in Bethlehem and in the River Jordan), let me also “come out“ beyond my little self, and into communion with Him. This morning I can join the ever-birth-giving Church, and let God’s grace be productive in my day, whatever its insecurities and vulnerabilities. “God is the Lord, and has appeared unto us! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!“