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Summary: God uses the insignificant and the unexpected to bring significance and purpose to our lives. [Christmas Eve Meditation]


Luke 2.1-7

S: Christmas Eve

C: Bethlehem


Type: Topical; inductive

I. PLACE OF SUFFERING (Genesis 35.16-20)


III. PLACE OF ROYALTY (I Samuel 16.1-13)

IV. PLACE OF DEITY (Micah 5.1-5a)

PA: How is the change to be observed?

• Live the purpose you have been given.

Version: ESV

RMBC 24 December 07 AM


On December 24, 1865, the most dynamic pastor in America was in the Holy Land.

Phillips Brooks was the pastor of the Holy Trinity Church in Philadelphia and was considered America’s pastor at the time, much like Billy Graham is today.

He was so well respected, he gave the funeral message of President Lincoln.

But as the war had come to an end, and then the assassination of President Lincoln, along with the responsibilities of a church attendance over 1,000, he was worn out and burned out.

He desperately needed a rest and was given a sabbatical.

So, on December 24, 1865, as he was staying in Jerusalem, he borrowed a horse to take to Bethlehem.

He was warned that it was a dangerous road – that he should not go alone – there were thieves about.

He felt, though, that he should go, and off he went.

Brooks had one of those “aha” moments, a moment that stays imprinted on your mind forever.

There was a very clear sky as he approached Bethlehem.

And as he broke through the clearing and spied the tiny, remote village, he was left speechless.

This was the place.

This was the place that His Savior and His Lord had been born.

And it looked remarkably similar to how it had almost 1900 years previously.

It was a moment in time in which left him never feeling the same.

The sabbatical did him a lot of good and he returned to the ministry full of life and vigor.

In 1868, he was preparing for Christmas Sunday, and began to relive the experience of the Christmas Eve three years previous that had so profoundly affected him.

And in a moment of inspiration, he relived that experience.

He jotted down the lines of what we know as O Little Town of Bethlehem.

It was his testimony that they seemed to just float out of his mind and onto the paper.

As he finished the poem, he ran it over to the home of his organist to compose music to go with it.

All day long, on Christmas Eve, Lewis Redner worked on it and could not come up with anything.

But then in the middle of the night, he woke up and it had come to him.

It was what he called an unadorned and straight forward tune, but it is a song, both music and words, that has caught the attention of millions through the years.


O Little Town of Bethlehem…

If you were going to put together a site selection for where you would want a king to be born, Bethlehem would not be on the radar.

It was a place of no political significance.

It created no commercial interest.

It was not known for its culture or education.

In fact, Bethlehem was barely known.

At that time, we might have chosen Jerusalem, Rome, Athens, or Alexandria, but certainly not this small town known as the “House of Bread.”

But the Old Testament does give us some clues of why Bethlehem would be an important place.

For each of these descriptions point to who Jesus is and what he will endure as our Savior and Messiah…

In Genesis, our first introduction to Bethlehem, we discover it to be…

I. A PLACE OF SUFFERING (Genesis 35.16-20)

For it is here that Jacob’s wife, Rachel, dies as she gives birth to her second son, the younger brother of Joseph.

As she lay dying, she named the son, Benoni, which means “son of my sorrow.”

But Jacob renamed him after Rachel died, giving another connection to Jesus.

He named him Benjamin, son of my right hand.”

We also find Bethlehem to be…


Our second reading described the results of a wonderful love story.

Boaz wins the right to redeem Ruth as his own.

It is a right that they both welcome.

She is bought freely, and becomes the future grandmother of Jesse.

This, of course, connects to Jesus as He becomes our Redeemer.

He buys us back, separates us from what binds us, and sets us free.

Bethlehem is also…

III. A PLACE OF ROYALTY (I Samuel 16.1-13)

When Samuel is given the assignment to anoint the next king, the Lord tells him that he is to be found in this obscure village, south of Jerusalem.

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