An Advent Journey - 3rd December

An Advent Journey - 3rd December

Read: Ruth 1: 1-5, 4:16-22

A while ago I was driving through the County Down town of Downpatrick. It’s not a place I’m often and it’s not a place I have any connection to. Well that’s half true. In 1899 my paternal grandmother was born Downpatrick. Her father, who was a horse trainer in the town, had died just a number of weeks before she was born. Not long after her birth her mother moved the family to Newtownards, where my granny and her brothers grew up. However it’s strange how even that thin slice of history gives me a wee link, a link to Downpatrick. 

This morning in our Advent Journey we are reading in the book of Ruth. Written over 1000 years before Jesus was born Ruth tells the story of the family of a man called Elimelek (his name means ‘My God is King). But Elimelek died and then his sons died. His widow (Naomi) and her two daughter-in-laws were left alone in a situation that was ‘bitter’ and tough. Then one of the girls (Ruth) and Naomi headed back to Naomi’s home town, a place … called Bethlehem.

Ruth is a story of God at work in the background, God ‘redeeming’ a painful situation. This particularly story moves towards the birth of a baby in Bethlehem. His name (4:17) was Obed. The final verse of the book tells us that his grandson was a boy called David, a child who grow to be the King of God’s people, a child born in Bethlehem. 

The story of Ruth is a thin slice of history. An ordinary story of ordinary people, and yet like so much of the Old Testament it points forward. For years upon years God is working in history, moving everything towards the birth of another baby, a King, a Redeemer, also born in Bethlehem. Passing through the book of Ruth this morning I find myself pausing and giving thanks for this story and every other story, reminders of God’s big plan, to save and redeem His people.

Prayer: Lord thank you that all through history you have been at work and you still are at work. Help us today to know you in our lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.