DECEMBER 23, 2018: Advent 4
SCRIPTURE: Ruth 1:1–9, 16-17; 3:1-11; 4:13-17
[1:1] In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.  The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there.  But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons.  These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years,  and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.
 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the LORD had visited his people and given them food.  So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.  But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother's house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.  The LORD grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.
 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”
[3:1] Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?  Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.  Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.  But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.”  And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”
 So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her.  And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down.  At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet!  He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”  And he said, “May you be blessed by the LORD, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.  And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.
[4:13] So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son.  Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel!  He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”  Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse.  And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. (ESV)