December 15, 2017

And the Earth Shook

December 15, 2017


Psalm 126

Habakkuk 3:2-6

Philippians 3:12-16

This weekend’s reading: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

In Habakkuk’s prayer, which some say is really a hymn, the coming of the Lord is like a triumphal march “surrounded with a brightness like the sun with rays coming from his hand where his power lay hidden.” It says He shook the earth, His look made the nations tremble, eternal mountains were shattered and everlasting hills sunk low.

So what do we do with the manger in Bethlehem? Soft sounds of cattle, smell of hay, two frightened parents, and a baby. Probably not how Habakkuk thought the Lord would come to His people.

Perhaps he was thinking about the effect of God’s coming and not the means. The effect was no less awe-filled or frightening, mountain and hill destroying. But not the warrior King to destroy enemies or run out the invaders. Just a baby King to offer everlasting life, an eternal supply of water to quench every person’s thirst. Just not the way he thought it would be.

Was Habakkuk wrong? No, God just had a different, better idea. The world would be shaken to its bones; mountains would be made low; the hungry fed; the meek lifted up.

And it started with starlight and singing angels and a baby’s cry in a cattle stall. God’s different way.


  • What is the importance of God’s coming to us in the form of a helpless baby born to humble parents, far from the spotlight?
  • How would you have expected this to happen?


  • If you were a little calf sharing the stable with this miraculous event, how would you describe it?
  • What would you make of it?
  • What would you tell your friends you had seen?

Lord, make us worthy in some small sense of your Gift to us and your infinite wisdom in sharing yourself as a child—a child who would become the Savior who makes nations tremble. Amen.