Summary: Something can happen when Christ comes to your Bethlehem. Something will change you from what you were to what you can become.
WHEN CHRISTMAS CAME TO BETHLEHEM
A small boy was writing a letter to God about the Christmas presents he badly wanted. "I’ve been good for six months now," he wrote. But after a moment’s reflection he crossed out "six months" and wrote "three".
After a pause, that was crossed out and he put "two weeks". There was another pause and that was crossed out too. He got up from the table and went over to the little nativity scene that had the figures of Mary and Joseph.
He picked up the figure of Mary and went back to his writing and started again: "Dear God, if ever you want to see your mother again…!"
(Ill. Some one has compared Santa Claus and the Lord Jesus in a-piece called "Santa Versus Jesus."
· Santa lives at the North Pole. Jesus lives everywhere.
· Santa rides in a sleigh. Jesus rides on the wind and walks on the water.
· Santa comes once a year. Jesus is an ever-present help.
· Santa comes down your chimney. Jesus stands at your door of your heart and knocks.
· Santa fills your stockings with goodies. Jesus supplies all your needs.
· You have to wait in line to see Santa. Jesus is as close as the mention of His name.
· Santa lets you sit in his lap. Jesus holds you in His hands.
· Santa has a belly like a bowl of jelly. Jesus has a heart of love.
· Santa’s little helpers makes new toys. Jesus makes new lives.
· Santa puts gifts under your tree. Jesus became our gift and died on a tree.)
Five day, 90-mile journey. Five or six miles southwest of Jerusalem lay the tiny town of Bethlehem in the Judean hills. Like the shepherds who received the first Christmas greeting from the angels, let their reply be our reply:
"Let us now go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us." (Luke 2:15)
Jesus was not born in the house of royalty, or the house of riches, or the house of celebrity. Jesus was not born in Jerusalem, or in Rome, or in Athens or Alexandria.
Jesus was not born in any political, commercial, cultural, educational, or socially significant city of the day.
When Micah, the Old Testament prophet, foretold the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, he emphasized its lack of significance to the world.
"But thou, Bethlehem, Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel: whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2)
The Mystery of Bethlehem
Of all the cities, towns and villages in Palestine why did the Lord God choose such an unheard-of hamlet as Bethlehem for the birth of the greatest figure ever to enter into human history?
If a site selection committee had been appointed, the name of Bethlehem probably would have never made the list. There are all kinds of important reasons to favor another location.
The city of Hebron, for example, played an important role in the beginning of Hebrew history. In the Old Testament record its name occurs 73 times.
On the other hand, Jerusalem is an even more logical choice. Six hundred eleven times the city is mentioned in the Old Testament. For centuries, from the day David captured it from the Jebusites to make it his city, Jerusalem was the center of religious and civil life in Israel.
For whatever the reasons, Bethlehem never rose to a position of prominence in its entire history. Bethlehem was never the theater of any action or business.
This notion of obscurity is captured by a verse from one of the favorite songs sung during the Christmas season.
O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above the deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
But Bethlehem which means “house of bread” probably to commemorate the reputation of the entire region as a grain producing center in Old Testament times had a history.
The History of Bethlehem
It is known as the place where Rachel, Jacob’s wife had died and was buried after giving birth to the youngest son Benjamin.
It is known as the place where Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law was from.
It is known as the place where Ruth found here Kinsmen Redeemer – Boaz.
It is known as the place where Israel’s second most important king in the Scriptures was anointed. It was the birth place of David, Israel’s great and ideal king, poet, and hero who drew his first breath and grew up there.