First United Presbyterian Church

O Little Town of Bethlehem


Micah 5:2

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.

The preacher held a tennis racket at the podium the entire time he gave his sermon, reported my friend from Oregon.  The speaker would rub his fingers over the strings or pat the face of the racket with his hand as the sermon went on, but never said why he was holding the racket.  Finally, he asked the congregation if they knew the name for the little area toward the middle of the strings.  “Sweet spot!” my tennis playing friend called out!  Yes, hitting the ball at the sweet spot gives the most power, the best control in order to send the tennis ball on its merry way.  The preacher went on to say that Jesus can be our sweet spot; to bring joy, guidance and power to our lives.

We don’t sing, “O, Little Town of Bethlehem of Ephrathah” but the exact location of that special Bethlehem of Judah’s clan mattered to Micah as he distinguished it from the other Bethlehem of Zebulun’s tribe. This little Bethlehem was not a powerhouse of population or prestige at the time of this writing, just a “little clan”.  What a revelation to hear that the Messiah, deliverer of God’s people, would come from such an insignificant place.  To top off the message, the one who is coming is the very origin of everyone’s existance, the one who was the beginning, the Word.  That makes a magnificant sweet spot!

Thank you God for preparing us to receive a gift beyond what we could ever imagine deserving.   As fortold all those years ago, Jesus and your Spirit are within us for comfort, love, strength, power and everything.  Forever.

Contributed by Carol Van Syoc

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