O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM

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After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

O Little Town of Bethlehem was written by Phillips Brooks.  He also wrote two books – one called The Joy of Preaching and another called The Consolations of God. 

Brooks actually took a trip to Bethlehem and walked around trying to imagine what that night must have been like.  He didn’t write the carol in Bethlehem; in fact, he waited three years and was back in the United States when he began writing the song.  He must have really given the details a lot of thought.

He records in his diary,

“Before dark we rode out of town to the field where the shepherds saw the star. It is a fenced piece of ground with a cave in it, in which, strangely enough, they put the shepherds. Somewhere in those fields we rode through, the shepherds must have been, as we passed, still keeping watch over their flocks. I was standing in the old church in Bethlehem, close to the spot where Jesus was born, and the whole church was ringing hour after hour with the splendid hymns of praise to God; how again and again it seemed as if I could hear voices I know well, telling each other of the Savior’s birth.”

And so the carol O Little Town of Bethlehem was written.

The best news is that Christ was born for everyone!  He came to earth for all – !

gods-choice

I love this poem from Lucinda’s devotional book Coffee with Jesus.  I’m so glad that Jesus loves everyone regardless of any label you may want to mention.  He doesn’t see the labels, He just sees each soul individually.  🙂

SPECIAL DELIVERY

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Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.  – Isaiah 7:14

The word SPECIAL has been overused in the past few decades.  For example, Dana Carvey’s church lady character on SNL said, “Well, isn’t that SPECIAL???”  It was sarcasm to the hilt.

Our USPS does have a delivery service called Special Delivery, but the most special delivery of them all was when Christ was born in Bethlehem.

When I looked SPECIAL up in the dictionary, here’s what I found:

adjective
adjective: special
  1. 1.
    better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.
    “they always made a special effort at Christmas”
    synonyms: exceptional, unusual, singular, uncommon, notable, noteworthy, remarkable, outstanding, unique More

    “a very special person”
    “a special occasion”
    antonyms: ordinary
noun
noun: special; plural noun: specials
  1. 1.
    a thing, such as an event, product, or broadcast, that is designed or organized for a particular occasion or purpose.
    “television’s election night specials”
    Isn’t it interesting that SPECIAL in reference to Christ and His birth can be used as both an adjective and a noun?  Both apply!  Christ Himself is special – and His birth (the event) is for sure – special.
    delivery-day-prayer

    There’s no doubt whatsoever that this was a SPECIAL DELIVERY of a very SPECIAL KING.  I had to chuckle when I saw the term CUSTOM-MADE.  Well, yes – He definitely was that too, wouldn’t you agree?

MERRY CHRISTMAS

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CHRISTMAS CROSS
I believe in the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Separate, yet One. No, I don’t understand it, but God is God and I am not. Christmas is the time of year we pay homage to the second part of the blessed Trinity – God’s One and only begotten Son, Jesus. He was born of a virgin and walked on this earth for 33 years. If it had not been for the event we refer to as Christmas, the event we refer to as Easter, celebrating Christ’s resurrection from the dead, could not have taken place. Christmas is a big deal in the life of a Christian.

You are busy now, wrapping presents and hanging lights on your Christmas tree, but stop what you are doing now – just stop all the business of Christmas for a moment. Meditate on this one concept for a moment – then you can get back to trimming your Christmas tree (you know those lights are not all going to light up anyhow – they never do!) Turn on the video and keep the volume low so you can meditate.

Christ was born in BETHLEHEM Did you know that the word BETHLEHEM means “house of bread”? It is our Christ Who later proclaimed that He is the “Bread of Life”. I once heard that a coincidence is when God chooses to remain silent, so I would suspect that it is no coincidence that Christ was born in Bethlehem. The shepherds saw and heard everything first hand and were very anxious to give God glory and praise for His great gift and His great plan of salvation. None of us were actually there, but we need to take a little time each day to meditate on one Christmas fact. Find one truth to ponder in our hearts.

Jesus is the Bread of Life and deserves nothing less than our constant love, praise and service. Then you can go back to decorating your Christmas tree. 😉