But you, Bethlehem, David's country, the runt of the litter— From you will come the leader who will shepherd-rule Israel. He'll be no upstart, no pretender. His family tree is ancient and distinguished. Meanwhile, Israel will be in foster homes until the birth pangs are over and the child is born. And the scattered brothers come back home to the family of Israel. He will stand tall in his shepherd-rule by God's strength, centred in the majesty of God-Revealed. And the people will have a good and safe home, for the whole world will hold him in respect— Peacemaker of the world!
Just when we think we’ve got this promised Messiah pinned down. When we’ve faced up to his being a deliverer of promises, a creator of havoc and a warrior, we’re presented with the image of a shepherd, not an upstart or a pretender. How many faces can God have? Well, it seems, as many as are necessary to deal with the ravages of the world. A comforter for those who need comfort. A stirrer for those who are complacent. An avenger for those who have been wronged. Many the faces of the God who loves, cares for and comes to restore the world. Which of God’s faces do you need to see this Advent?