Summary: The name Bethlehem means ‘house of bread’ in Hebrew, and it was located in an area called ‘fruitful’—Ephrathah. Compared to the city of Jerusalem, it is small. Not only in size but in significance.
The name Bethlehem means ‘house of bread’ in Hebrew, and it was located in an area called ‘fruitful’—Ephrathah. Compared to the city of Jerusalem, it is small. Not only in size but in significance. “[T]his birthplace of David would also become the birthplace of his greatest descendant, the Messiah (Barker 96)."
Bethlehem was marked for a change. Because of the way other nations used the term ‘king’ it was often avoided by the prophets, choosing instead to use the word ‘ruler’. This ruler of verse 2 comes forth “first of all for the Lord’s benefit and His plans, and only secondarily in response to Israel and her distress (Kaiser 63-64)." “for me” in verse 2 is placed in the emphatic position demanding our attention.
Isaac Ryan Brown is not a huge star by the world’s standards. He’s had recurring roles in some television shows like How to Get Away with Murder and Disney’s Raven’s Home. He was raised to know he was the Church wherever he was. He said, “I feel like, if you praise him out in the open, he’ll praise you out in the open. And I feel like that’s the major reason for my success (McGee).”
In an interview he shared how he prayed before he went into the audition.
“I gave him the praise, honor and glory. I’ve been working on that because I notice sometimes my head gets a little too big, sometimes I gotta bring myself back down, but God — he’s the reason for the season (ibid.).”
In Believe, Clarence isn’t the oldest, smartest, or even the most normal of kids. What he has, beside endless energy, is a certainty that he has been tapped to play the angel Gabriel in the town’s Christmas pageant. In the face of not having the pageant Clarence still believes.
What Clarence models is a certainty of hope in which God is the director. The opposite of this is seen in the wishes written to North Pole by children, the adults who vote wishing for a change that doesn’t come, and those who pray their laundry lists of tasks for God to do for them.
NATURE OF HOPE
Hope is the certainty that God will do what is right, when the season is write, by means that honor Himself. Listen to Galatians 4:3-5
3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
The interaction between Elizabeth and Mary demonstrates a settle hope between these two. Elizabeth is not envious of the child Mary carries. She is awed that Mary would come to her and let her experience the presence of her Lord. John, in her womb leaped like a playful lamb for joy at the sound of her voice.
In Mary’s song, the Magnificat, she looks at her present situation in terms of the assurance of God’s presence and protection. R. C. Sproul said, “Mary’s song, the Magnificat, is one of the most important hymns in the history of the church (Sproul).” Baptist theologian and teacher E Stanley Jones says of this passage, “The Magnificat is the most revolutionary document in the history of the world. (Rogers)."
The reason for such hesitancy and respect is that it shows the world the outcome of the one prophesied by Micah to come from Bethlehem. The Lordship of Christ overturns the world’s sense of order and importance.
As Mary gives voice to her faith she rejoices in “God my Savior” v 47, the word used in the Greek Old Testament for salvation. It is not her holiness that makes God attend to her. She, like us, needs a Savior. Pride is nipped in the bud as she praises by recalling her humble situation and undeserving place, much like Bethlehem in Micah.
Her magnification of God is to extol, enlarge, and to celebrate God’s actions. Coupled with the intense idea of ‘rejoice’ she expresses a supreme joy. Like Issac Brown who gave God all the praise, honor, and glory, that is our stating point in praising God. “We are to magnify his name, and no one or nothing else (Fritz)."
NATURE OF WISHING
Let me read something that should shake us to our core.
"Society never actually wanted the Incarnation. "Emmanuel, God-with-Us" does not sell computer games or cologne. Society wanted the cute stuff--rustic stable, adoring shepherds, fluffy sheep, cows, donkey, holy family, infant Jesus, gift-bearing kings, stars, angels, St. Nicholas, reindeer, fir trees, holly, and presents. The pagan stuff they will retain--even if they do dye the trees powder blue and decorate them with miniature hanging appliances and Disney ornaments (Jais-Mick)."