The small village of Bethlehem is linked in the Bible to many tragic events, but there are two events that mark the city in the history. The first one is the city where David the king was born. He used to shepherd his family’s flock around the city. He was anointed there. The second and most important is where Jesus Christ, our Lord, was born.
Because of that rich history, Bethlehem has many lessons for us, principally during Christmas time. Let me share three very important lessons.
1. The Bread of Life was born in the House of Bread – Bethlehem means “The House of Bread. This put the sovereignty and providence of God working together. Bethlehem was an old town mentioned in the book of Genesis. Rachel was buried there (Gen. 35:19). But a more interesting event is narrated in the book of Ruth: “In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. Ruth 1:1.” Isn’t interesting that the people had to leave the House of Bread because of famine? The House of Bread did not have bread. Today we are facing the same situation. People are with their tables full of food, but their hearts and souls are starving. They are starving of meaning, significance, purpose, joy, and many other things, but the most of it is faith. People just cannot believe anymore, and they will use any excuse for not to believe.
Jesus said: “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35.” For those who hunger, Jesus, the Bread of Life, was born in the House of Bread.
2. The Humbleness of Christ Incarnation – The second lesson that we learn with Bethlehem is about humbleness. Here we have a young and simple couple, who did not have a place to stay. The Son of God is about to incarnate in this world through that little girl, and they have to adapt a cave for that event. Paul wrote to the Philippians: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8.” The lesson is to keep it simple. When we see the opulence of our celebrations it is diametrical opposed to the first Christmas. Jesus, the Son of God, was born in a cave in a small town, and we should learn to be humble with Him.
3. Small things in God’s hands – The third lesson is about the value of small things in the eyes of the Lord. The population of Bethlehem at that time was around 200 people, which explain the lack of room during that time. When king Herod asked the priests and scribes where the King was supposed to be born they answered: “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 be the shepherd of my people Israel.’” Matthew 2:5-6.” But the whole prophesy states this: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2.” The prophet said: “though you are small among the clans of Judah,” The lesson is that God can take small and insignificant things and do wonderful works. Jesus, the Son of God, could be born in the Herod’s palace, a few miles away, or in the Temple, but God decided to manifest Himself in a cave of a small village.
Sometimes we think that we are too small, without capability, with no talent, and we forget that God is in the business of making great things with nobodies and unknowns. Just let God use you.
Have a blessed week,