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Little Town of Bethlehem

  • Little Town of Bethlehem from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    What would it be like to live in the perfect will of God? There is probably no better example than His Son, Jesus Christ, and the parents who raised Him. So let's do a quick recap of our Savior's birth. What was it like when the Son of God was born?

    Jesus' parents lived in the tiny insignificant town of Nazareth. They were poor, uneducated peasants. His mother, Mary, was probably about thirteen or fourteen years old at the time. She was engaged to a carpenter named Joseph when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her she would conceive a child from the Holy Spirit.

    Mary simply answered Gabriel, "Let it be to me according to your word." Then she went and stayed with her cousin Elizabeth for three months. When Mary returned to Nazareth, she was mysteriously pregnant and showing. So imagine the look on poor Joseph's face when he came running to give her a hug and saw her new figure. The Angel Gabriel had told Mary this:

    (Luke 1:35 NKJV)  ..."The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

    Mary conceived when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her, which to me is an extremely simple thing for the Creator of the universe to do. Yet, her husband Joseph didn't know this, so he decided to divorce her as quietly and quickly as possible (Matthew 1:19). While Joseph was considering this, an angel, likely Gabriel, appeared to him in a dream. The word he brought Joseph encouraged him to stand by Mary, though she had become pregnant under some strange circumstances.

    (Matthew 1:20–21 NKJV)  But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."

    Generally, it was a depressing time to give birth in the Roman empire. There had been twenty years of civil war. Most of the towns had been sacked, the farms were neglected and pillaged. Highwaymen roamed the roads, kidnapped travelers, and sold them into slavery. The taxation system was ripe with corruption. The collectors could charge whatever they wanted, and armed thugs enforced their demands.

    The Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, was beginning to change all that. He took a census in the land and commanded everyone to return to their family's city to be counted for taxation purposes. It had been prophesied by Micah 5:2 that the Messiah would be born in the little town of Bethlehem. It just so happened that Joseph was from the family line of David in Bethlehem, so he had to return there.

    Mary wasn't required by law to go with Joseph. Still, being that her mysterious pregnancy was probably the main gossip of the small town of Nazareth, she made the eighty-mile trip to Bethlehem with him. It was a long dusty journey through rocky terrain. It would have been tough on anyone, especially for a pregnant woman. Many women then died in childbirth, and even if they walked all day, it probably took them nearly a week to get to Bethlehem.

    When the weary couple finally arrives in Bethlehem, Joseph tries to find them lodging, but the city is filled with other travelers. No one took them into their house.

    If that wasn't bad enough, Mary began having labor pains! At first, she probably tried to keep them to herself, but eventually, she had to tell Joseph. This was quickly becoming an emergency situation. The people were indifferent and didn't care about the young couple's dilemma. No one gave them shelter.

    Joseph probably searched around in a near panic and found a cave nearby that was used to shelter livestock. It would have to do. Mary lay on the hard ground. The air was filled with the stench of manure, urine, straw, and then the smell of blood and birth. The Lord Jesus Christ was soon born, wrapped in cloth, and laid in a feeding trough.

    Joseph must have looked on helplessly and felt he had failed so miserably as a husband. Here was his young wife, writhing in pain. Lying on the cold ground in a stable, while no one around them cared or even noticed. It was a hard world. As a man, Joseph had to cry, or curse. This was his perspective down on Earth while living in the perfect will of God.

    Meanwhile, some shepherds were watching their flock not far from town when an angel appeared to them. Listen to the perspective of Heaven:

    (Luke 2:8–14 NKJV)  Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them,

    "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

    A multitude of the heavenly host praised God as they witnessed the most significant event in history take place. While the people in the little town of Bethlehem continued on with what they had been doing, unaware that God had arrived.

    Everything had worked out exactly as it should have. There were many prophecies fulfilled during the birth of Jesus. It went according to God's plan. Yet, if Joseph had gotten his way, I am sure Mary would have given birth in an inn or a house and not the floor of a cave. God sees things differently than we do.

    (Isaiah 55:8–9 NKJV)  "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

    Don't despise humble beginnings, for great things can grow out of them.

    You can pray this with me if you like:

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, please give me Your perspective, and let me see this world through Your eyes. May Your will be done on Earth, and in my life, as it is in heaven. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!

    Note: We so appreciate all your Christmas greetings, cards, encouragement and blessings over this past month - thank you all so much! We are truly honored to be able to walk with y'all into 2022, and pray that He shines His blessings over each of you! Also, since it is almost New Year's Day, for those who would like to make your tax-deductible donations for 2021, here is the link. Whatever your choice, we appreciate your presence, and thank you for being part of Refreshing Hope Ministries!


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23 comments
  • 1
Marilyn Salter
Marilyn Salter The great I Am knew the plans He had. I thank God for His foresight every day. His blessings are too many to mention. May He have mercy on us all.
December 27, 2021
  • 0
Debi Burton
Debi Burton Praise the Lord Hallelujah! Amen
December 27, 2021
  • 1
Barbara Jackson
Barbara Jackson

Amen

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Kay Collinsworth
Kay Collinsworth

Amen

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Patricia Walker
Patricia Walkeredited: December 27, 2021

Amen. Heavenly Father, Thank You for being my guide through life. Thank you for Your blessings. Amen

December 27, 2021
  • 1
David Fabillaran
David Fabillaran

Hallelujah!

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Candy Laventure
Candy Laventure

Very timely message.
Praise God for his divine plan for us. Amen

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Marisa Jackson
Marisa Jackson

Glory to God, Our Father in Heaven who walked among us and still lives with us EVERYDAY!  Praise be to the Father and His most precious Son Jesus Christ who lives and reigns FOREVER and EVER, Amen!! Alleluia!! Amen!!

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Scott Riegelmann
Scott Riegelmann

Amen

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Yvette York
Yvette York

Amen Good Morning Everyone 

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Richard Mondello
Richard Mondello

In Lord Yeshua's name I ask this, Amen. 

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Narciso Salas
Narciso Salas

Beautiful,  beautiful,  beautiful,  amen!!!!

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Brenda F
Brenda F

Amen

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Liesel  aka  Lisa Wardle
Liesel aka Lisa Wardle

Amen and Amen !!!  Thank you so much, Pastor Dion, for this timely message !!! I'm so blessed to be able to attend Sunday's service !!! And, thank you Sylvia for everything that you do including behind the scene !!! (L) (h5)

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Mari Kaufmann
Mari Kaufmann

God please hear my prayer. Amen

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Schalk  de Beer
Schalk de Beer

Yes, amen Lord 

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Celeste Strenn
Celeste Strenn

Amen

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Susan Petho
Susan Petho

Amen!

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

Amen!

December 27, 2021
  • 1
Roseanne Braverman
Roseanne Braverman

Thank you for this reminder that God's ways are not our ways.  Merry Christmas to you and Sylvia and your family.  May God continue to Bless you and watch over you in the New Year.

December 28, 2021
  • 1
Wanda Pennington
Wanda Pennington

Amen 

December 28, 2021
  • 1
Dana Rozell
Dana Rozell

Amen.

December 31, 2021
  • 1
Sandra Colby
Sandra Colby

THAT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL

Jan 1