READ THE BOOK OF RUTH
Let’s spend the next few days reading the Book of Ruth. Each day I will have a thought from this small book. I always read Ruth around Christmas time. Maybe you have heard of others who do the same. Maybe you have heard sermons from Ruth during this time. Perhaps you wondered why? I mean it’s not a Christmas story, is it?
I guess technically it is not a Christmas story; however, just think about it. It is a love story that takes place in Bethlehem and culminates with the birth of a little baby. That sounds a lot like The Christmas Story to me.
I think the book of Ruth shouts Merry Christmas to us. That baby says I can trust surrendering my life to God. The baby also says that God has come into this world to bring Hope and life.
Consider the story of Ruth and Naomi in Chapter 1. In this opening chapter we are introduced to the family of a man, his wife Naomi and their two sons. There is an extreme famine in Bethlehem so they travel to Moab in order to find food. While there, the two sons each find a Moabite woman for a wife. One of those wives is Ruth.
Soon the father and the two sons die leaving Naomi, Ruth and the other daughter in law as widows. Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem as she has heard the famine is over. She tells her daughter in laws to stay in Moab as she is too old to remarry and even if she did the women could not wait on her to raise sons to be their husbands. Ruth however would not leave her.
In verses 16-17 Ruth vows to stay with Naomi wherever she goes. I believe we also see in her words, “your God (will be) my God”, a commitment to The Lord God. A commitment to follow Him and to allow Him to have control of her life. During the story Ruth will find another man, Boaz, who loves her. As a result of Boaz’s love for her, he will redeem her for himself. This relationship with produce a child that will represent a blessing to the entire world. Merry Christmas. I can trust God. That’s what the birth of Jesus means. I can follow God into the unknown. I can trust Him. Merry Christmas.
Think of Naomi. She fled to a foreign land from a famine. While there she lost her husband and two sons. Life was dark for her. In verse 20 she told her friends to no longer call her Naomi which means pleasant but to call her Mara which means bitter. She felt God had given to her a bitter life to live. She was full, but now she was empty. Then came the Baby in chapter 4. Her grandson became a joy to her so she could be called Naomi again. He was a blessing from God. Baoz became for Naomi a “…restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age.” Ruth was better than “seven sons”! Naomi found fullness, joy and happiness again because of that little baby. Merry Christmas!
The Child in the manger says that there is hope for our darkness. He says that we can find fullness of joy. The Baby in the manger says that the Light has shined in the darkness. He says that there is Hope!