Micah refers to Bethlehem as “too small to be among the clans of Judah,” pointing out its insignificance next to Judah and the other eleven tribes of Israel (Micah 5:1). Bethlehem was home to Jesse, father of eight sons, seven of whom were invited to a banquet with the Prophet Samuel. But it was the youngest, David, overlooked even by his own father, who becomes king of Israel. The angel Gabriel was not sent to a renowned married women in the distant town of Nazareth. Whether people or places, God has a tendency to choose the unlikely one. As God said to Samuel, “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Can we change our perspective and see the potential in someone or something we’ve overlooked? Along the same lines, sometime in the next week we are likely to hear the saying “The best things come in small packages.” Truly the most wonderful Christmas gift any of us have ever received was the gift of Jesus Christ, born from the womb of the young Blessed Virgin Mary over two thousand years ago. Besides Mary and Joseph, the first to receive this gift was her cousin Elizabeth, who breaks out of a five-month seclusion with shouts of joy and awe when Mary with a few-week-old fetus comes to visit. In the world that Mary and Elizabeth were born into, their people were subjected to foreign rule-yet again. Meanwhile, humanity was still held captive by sin. God’s presence on earth was limited to rare encounters on mountaintops. It is difficult to overstate how deeply the people longed for a messiah. Not just Mary, but all of us are blessed by God, who sent us the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, to be with us, to redeem us, and to stay with us forever. Amen. (Casey, Most Reverend Robert G. Pastoral Patterns. World Library Publication, 2021).