December 17

Micah 5:2-5a

“But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.” vs. 2

During his ministry Jesus was known as a Galilean from the village of Nazareth…it’s where he and his family had lived. But after his death and resurrection stories of his birth in Bethlehem began to circulate and were picked up by the gospel writers, Matthew and Luke. The town had always been small and insignificant. Located just a few miles from Jerusalem, it was known as the birthplace of David, Israel’s greatest king. That was the probably the reason the prophet Micah made note of it. Writing a couple of hundred years after David he dreams of a day when the little town would bring forth a new ruler. Early Christians believed that his prophecy had come to pass in the person of Jesus and the connection was celebrated. It wasn’t long before the Shepherd’s Field and the Cave of the Nativity became pilgrimage sites and major churches were constructed for worship. In a couple of weeks those holy places in Bethlehem will again be crowded with people from all around the world who have come through checkpoints and walls to celebrate Jesus’ birth. While they worship most of us will have to be content with singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” It’s not the same as being there, but it is a vivid reminder of Jesus’ humanity…his origin is from of old, and he came to be our King.

Thought for the Day: What’s the definition of a holy place?

 

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