By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy - 'O little town of Bethlehem'
Larry Sheehy
Larry Sheehy

    Sometimes we can only wonder at the working of God, and the way he chooses to bring about his ends. It is true that “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform.”
    There are several wonderfully mystifying things about the birth of Jesus. One of these regards the place of his birth, Bethlehem. Why would God choose to have his “one and only son,” the savior of the world, born in this relatively poor, obscure village? Why not just up the road in the much more important city of Jerusalem? Perhaps we can only make an “educated guess.”
    There are some other interesting things about the “little town of Bethlehem.” Originally called “Ephrath” in Genesis 35:16, 19, where it is mentioned as being near the burial place of Rachel, the small village in the tribal land of Judah, lies just south of Jerusalem. Prior to Jesus’ birth, its chief fame lay perhaps in the fact that it was the hometown of David. It was also the home of Naomi, and it was once a Philistine garrison.
    The Biblical writer Luke tells us about Joseph and Mary going to Bethlehem to register for the Roman census, since Joseph was of David’s lineage. While they were there, the time came for the child which had been promised to be born. Evidently because of the great crowd of people who had come to register for the census, “there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7) Consequently, Jesus was born in an animal feeding trough. All this shows the great simplicity of the circumstances surrounding the most significant birth in the history of the world - the birth, in human form, of the Son of God!
    Although God has utilized great ceremony and ritual in man’s relationship with him (for example, the Jewish tabernacle/temple and priesthood), he has never been overly concerned with them. If he were, there would have been no greater occasion for him to order it than the birth of his son. Jesus, who is far beyond our imagination in power and majesty, condescended to come to the earth on our behalf. He chose to present himself in a fashion that could hardly be less humble. (Philippians 2:5-8) There can be no doubt he did this to show himself concerned with the poor and the lowly?
    Scripture shows that God’s attitude toward those who are downtrodden is one of special concern. God loves the rich and famous as well, but he shows special attention to the poor and down-trouble. (Note James 1:27; 2:5 and the following verses.)
    Jesus serves as our example in humility and meekness. Not only in his birth, but in his every action, he demonstrated the spirit of meekness he taught his followers (Matthew 5:5; John. 13:1-17)
    As we think about the birth of Jesus, there are so many things to be aware of and lessons to learn. But maybe one of the most significant is the humility of God in presenting himself for the benefit of man, not only as a man, but among the lowliest of men.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter