Christ the Savior Is Born
With Christmas quickly upon us I am reminded again that the Bible does not begin with the phrase, “Once upon a time in a land far away.” God’s Word is no fable. It is a Book about real people who lived in real times in lands we can still visit. This month the eyes of the world will be focused again on Bethlehem. It’s fascinating to see the journey of life as reflected in the major mentions of Bethlehem in Scripture. It’s as though we journey in reverse through the major seasons of life. In Scripture, Bethlehem is seen as a place of death, then marriage, then youth promise, and finally birth.
For Jacob, Bethlehem is a place of death and sorrow where he buries his wife, Rachel. For many people Christmas finds them in difficult spots. This is their first Christmas without a family member who has died, or someone is struggling with an inoperable illness or a seemingly insurmountable trial. Though Jacob could’ve become drowned in sorrow, the Bible says he “journeyed on.” A great key to life – from the first lesson of Bethlehem – is that even the death of a loved one must not stop us from living. We must trust God and keep going.
In the book of Ruth, Bethlehem is first a place of famine and need that Naomi leaves only to return with her daughter-in-law. Their return finds Bethlehem as a place of marriage as Ruth and Boaz marry and have the child who becomes the grandfather of David. Bethlehem speaks to us of marriage and family. Although Christmas for some may be a Bethlehem-sorrow experience, for others gathered with family it is a Bethlehem-joy moment.
Bethlehem is also a place of potential. Young David grows up there. He learns to play the harp, become an excellent marksman with the sling, and grow tough enough to kill a lion and a bear. From Bethlehem that teenage lad steps onto the world stage as king of Israel. Therefore, Bethlehem reminds us of the importance of nurturing the potential in our children – that we must give them roots so that they will have wings. God is still looking for youth to anoint for a lifetime of service to Him.
Finally, and most importantly, Bethlehem is a place of birth. Christ the Savior is born! And, because He is born, we can be born again! Through Him we have salvation! That’s really God’s last word to us – Bethlehem – the place where God Himself became flesh and began to dwell among us!
So, what can all give thanks for regardless of health, circumstances and provision? We can give thanks for what is unchanging, what is enduring, what is true always whether we are on the mountain or in the valley. We can give thanks for the Faithfulness of God!