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2020 Advent: Devotionals & Liturgies

The Promise of the City

December 21, 2020
preached by
Pastor Brandon Johnston
2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days. — Micah 5:2 (ESV)

God loves to use small, little, and weak things to shock us with his glory. From an aging Abraham and a barren Sarah was to come the family of God. Moses was slow with his speech yet proclaimed God’s Words to Israel. David was a small shepherd boy who killed the Philistine giant Goliath. The town of Bethlehem was small and insignificant. Their only claim to fame was being the home of the rock slinging King David. Yet it was through this tiny and insignificant town that God promised to raise up a ruler of his own.

The expected Messiah would come from the least expected place. A ruler who would shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord. A shepherd who will keep them safe and be their peace.

It is not from a great army that God calls this ruler, but from a small town, Bethlehem. As a child, he was from Bethlehem, but as the Son he was from everlasting. Bethlehem was a footnote in Christ’s eternal existence. He always has been, he is, and he will always be. God promised a Kingdom (2 Samuel 7) and he promised to send a King (Isaiah 9), to come from this little town of Bethlehem, as “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God”(1 Corinthians 1:28-29)

Bethlehem was quite ordinary. Not even big enough to be counted among the clans of Judah. Yet this is where the King would be born. This little town of Bethlehem. God often works through the small places and small things. God uses ordinary places and ordinary people to bring about his extraordinary Kingdom on earth. A Kingdom that brings peace through the forgiveness of sins. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. Lord, you will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.

“O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie. Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark street shineth, the everlasting Light, the hopes and fears of all the years, are met in thee tonight.”

Accept our humble praise, our Ruler and Protector!
Your sovereignty and might are unmatched.
Everything that exists belongs to you.
The world casts away the small and insignificant,
but you claim them as your own.
Why are we surprised? Using the ordinary to
make the magnificent happen is your specialty.

We are not worthy to scrounge for your table scraps
let alone feast at your table.
And yet, here we are:
invited to come and adore at the side of the manger.

Lowly and ordinary, you stepped into our broken world.
You came to save us from ourselves,
crushing sin and death forever in the least expected of ways.

We are simple and we struggle to believe that you could be both good and kind; for this we repent.
Here we are Lord—your ordinary people.
Use us in your Kingdom for our good and your glory.

Teach us, O King, to renounce all that holds us back from worshiping at the manger.

Advent 2020: Devotionals & Liturgies
Coram Deo Pastors & Members

Advent is a time of looking back to remember, savor, and celebrate the birth of Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Each year, we set aside the four weeks leading up to Christmas to uniquely focus on Jesus’ birth, his first Advent. This year, we will be exploring the four themes of Advent: Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace. Each Sunday leading up to Christmas, at our worship services we will look at one of these themes through the lens of Scripture. We have provided this devotional as a supplemental resource to go along with each of the four sermons. Additionally, we have provided four mid-week devotionals that trace the theme and narrative of Christmas anticipation through the Old Testament from Genesis to Micah. Without the broader context of Old Testament promise and expectation, Christmas cannot be fully understood or appreciated. We also have provided a Christmas morning prayer to help set our hearts on Christ as we enter into and enjoy our Christmas Day celebrations. Lastly, you will find a number of liturgical prayers that have been written to stir our hearts and to direct our affections towards Christ during this season. All of these resources have been created by the elders, staff, and members of Coram Deo Church. It is our desire that they would be a blessing and source of joy and inspiration for you during this Christmas season. May God’s grace and favor shine upon you during this Advent season. Merry Christmas!


Brandon leads Coram Deo's staff, operations, and community ministries. He and his wife live in Bremerton. He loves woodworking and spending time with friends and family.

Brynn is a member of Coram Deo Church and a stay-at-home mom. She lives in Bremerton with her husband Ryan and their four children. She enjoys reading, writing, homeschooling, making pies, being outside, and sneaking new pets home past her husband.

Coram Deo Church is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.


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