December 15, 2014

 

In the Old Testament there are around 353 prophesies that are fulfilled in Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Each prophesy fulfilled validates the authenticity of the Bible and the truth it reveals. It is interesting that the second definition of the word “fulfillment” is “the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted.” The first definition, however, is the “satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character.” Christmas should remind us that our lives can only achieve true fulfillment through the realization that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God’s Word which promises our redemption and justification through faith in him and him alone.

A Christmas Mix – Playlist 4
Monday, December 15 - Sunday, December 21

O Little Town of Bethlehem, Steven Curtis Chapman
O Holy Night, Sufjan Stevens, Leigh Nash
Ring Christmas Bells, Ray Conniff
What Child is This?, Josh Groban
Winter Snow, Chris Tomlin/Audrey Assad
The First Noel, Crowder or Phil Wickham
Silent Night, Shane and Shane
Emmanuel, Amy Grant
God is With Us, Casting Crowns

Micah 5:2
O Little Town of Bethlehem

The setting of any story or any event is critical. Screenwriters and authors spend hours upon hours determining the best place to set their story. They pay attention to physical surroundings, time of year, and proximity to other important places. The setting is important.

The setting for Jesus’ birth was unexpected, but intentional. The location of his birth was a fulfillment of God’s promises. Many looked for the Messiah to be born in the center of the action, in the great holy city of Jerusalem. But God spent time considering the setting and chose something far different for his son. Rather than Jesus’ feet stepping from Heaven into the great, busy, and religious city, the Messiah’s feet reached from Heaven and touched our earth in the humble city of Bethlehem. Bethlehem means “house of bread” or “city of bread” and was located 5 miles southwest of Jerusalem.

Throughout the Old Testament, Bethlehem’s role is mentioned. It is the traditional burial site for Rachel (Genesis 35:19) and the story of Ruth takes place in the region of Bethlehem (Ruth 1:1-2, 19, 22; 2:4; 4:11). We know Bethlehem is the “City of David” as it was the village and the home and anointing place of David (1 Samuel 16:1-13; 17:12, 15). There are several other appearances of the city in Scripture, but it is the link between Christ and Bethlehem that insured its place in Christian history. Jesus would be born, not in the great city of Jerusalem, but in the humble city of Bethlehem. There would be no trumpets or crowds to announce his entrance, but a choir of angels, a band of shepherds, and a herd of animals to greet him in the darkness.

The popular carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, captures the stillness, the darkness and the quiet of the town that greeted our Messiah that first night:

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy 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.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descent to us, we pray;
Cast out our sins and enter in,
Be born to us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell:
Oh, come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!