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Daily reading: 4 January

When they saw the star they were overwhelmed with joy.

Something to read

They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.”' Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 

- Matthew 2:5-10.

Something to think about

Bethlehem. Not the worst place on earth according to the chief priests and scribes. They were, in fact, quoting the prophet Micah to Herod. But someone, somewhen down the line has muddled things up slightly, as the words of Micah as they appear in the Hebrew Bible say that Bethlehem is among the least. 

But whatever the reputation of Bethlehem then, Bethlehem now sees many Israeli and Palestinian children caught in the literal and emotional cross-fire of the conflict in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. 

Something to pray

O God,
you created the stars
to guide us through the darkness.
Create in us a desire
to lighten the darkness
in Bethlehem today.

Today's contributor is Melanie Smith, a minister with the United Reformed Church.

Published on 04 January 2022