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Just as Micah longed to see the horizon of the first coming, we long to see the dawn of his second.

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Read Micah 7:7-10

Separation often shows us the things in life that matter most. Trips to a distant city, away from those we love, have an interesting way of helping us understand what is most important to us.  Loved ones, friends, and places are reminders of where we enjoy spending our time. When a time of separation reaches a certain length, we realize the things we miss and the things we desire because we begin to long for them.

The prophet Micah is experiencing this kind of longing as he waits attentively and longing for God. He knows, when God arrives, things will change, and he will be vindicated in front of those who ridiculed his longing. No longer will they be able to ask, “Where is the Lord your God?”  But, until then, Micah hangs onto his faith in God, believing the promise of deliverance will come and in a time he will witness. Micah wasn’t the only one waiting. For years, the people of Israel waited with hearts filled with longing. The genealogy in Matthew 1 shows us just how many generations passed as they waited.

Now, we wait, hoping Jesus will return. Christmas is a season of anticipation and helps us remember we’re still waiting – still longing for complete deliverance. Perhaps you experience longing most profoundly when facing huge decisions or when you know calamity is headed your way. Perhaps with the loss of a job, significant financial issues, or finding out a loved one is now diagnosed with a terminal illness. Most times, we just don’t want to face these tragedies. Neither did Micah. But, in the middle of all the bad things going on around him, Micah directed his longing toward God because he knew his cry needed to go beyond his circumstance. He believed God was the only one who could come and answer his cry.

As the Christmas season approaches, we remember the reason we celebrate, the birth of a Messiah. Micah looked forward to the coming of his deliverer, and we have been looking back to the birth of our deliverer ever since. Now we begin our various traditions mindful of this longing and the cry of every lonely exile here. Just as Micah longed to see the horizon of the first coming, we long to see the dawn of his second.

During times of exile, the longings within us grow louder. In Mark 10:51, Jesus meets a blind man crying out from his own state of exile. Jesus asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?” Today, write out a prayer describing the longings of your heart by answering Jesus’ question.

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By Rich Obrecht

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