Bracket Busters and Bethlehem


Lenten Reflection on Micah 5

Yesterday used to be the day. It was the day that I would take a vacation day from work or work from home. Whatever it took, I would be in front of my television and ready for tip off. For those of you who aren’t aware, yesterday was the beginning of what is known as March Madness. It is the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. It is an exciting time with game after game and exciting finish after exciting finish.

One of the fun parts was always filling out my bracket. I am sure that you have seen one even if you have not filled one out. It is the mechanism that you use to pick every game of the tournament. You would then submit it in some type of contest to try and win a prize.  It is a frustrating exercise most of the time  or at least it was for me. Even in the years when I was really paying attention to college basketball there wad just too many choices.

I would end up picking from teams that i had never seen and often never heard about. Yet, every year there was at least one team that would cause an upset. The team was called a bracket buster. It was the team that you never heard of or disregarded that defeated a team that you thought would go far in the tourney. Their victory would ruin any chance that you had to win the contest.

Over the years it was teams like Santa Clara, Gonzaga, Hampton, George Mason, Davidson and George Mason. Who will it be this year? We don’t know yet. But these weren’t the first Bracket Busters in history. The first one ever might have been little Bethlehem from Judah. Bethlehem was just a tiny little insignificant place or so it seemed. Nothing spectacular and if you were going to pick a spot that the Messiah would come from, I don’t think it would be in the top 10.

Yet, in Micah we see that is exactly what God’s plan is for this place. Bethlehem will be the upset pick to host the King. Not the place I would have chosen nor the place that most of Israel would have chosen either. Yet, isn’t that how God often works?

God uses people, places, or things that we would never imagine to accomplish things that we could never comprehend. This should be both a warning and a comfort for us. It would warn us that we need to be careful when we dismiss people, places, and things as not worthy or good enough to accomplish something. I like to call that the “nothing good every comes from Nazareth,” complex. It should also bring us comfort to know that God is capable of and often is doing a good thing with all kinds of people, places, and things that society has deemed as not good enough.

So sit back and enjoy March Madness if that is your thing and enjoy the games upsets or nots. Yet, don’t forget our God is the ultimate Bracket Buster and always will be.


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