“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.”
That little town of Bethlehem, though insignificant in the world’s eyes, had been very significant to Biblical history, even for centuries before our precious Savior was born there.
The lineage of Christ could trace its family ties to Bethlehem as far back as the book of Genesis, for it was where Israel’s patriarch Jacob buried his wife Rachel.
When Ruth the Moabitess was brought to Israel to make Naomi’s God her own, it was in Bethlehem that she lived with her new husband Boaz, and it was there that they bore the child who would be an ancestor of Christ.
The family line was still in Bethlehem when Jesus’ ancestor David, a shepherd who would be king, watched over the flocks of his father.
David would later lead his armies against the pagan Philistines, who were establishing a stronghold over Bethlehem. Then he longed for a refreshing drink from Bethlehem’s well, and one of his “mighty men,” who was from Bethlehem, joined some others in a quest that brought him that water.
Then came the dark years. The kingdom of Israel was divided. In that moment of time, when it seemed least likely that God could bring forth His promised Redeemer from Israel, God’s prophet Micah declared that Bethlehem would be on the map again, in a way so special that generations to follow would almost forget the tiny village’s significance in Old Testament times. The previous events of Bethlehem would pale in comparison.
Because this little town of Bethlehem would be the location of the birth of the Christ child, who had existed from eternity past. Yes, the events that would change our world forever would all begin in Bethlehem. And when you look at the history of this little town, you’ll see that God couldn’t have chosen a better place.
This little village that was populated by shepherds who raised flocks for the temple sacrifices would be the birth place of the Lamb who would bring those sacrifices to their final fruition, sacrificing Himself to take away the sins of the world.
Like David, this Child of Bethlehem would be a trustworthy Shepherd for the flocks of His Father and a King whose throne in Jerusalem would be established forever.
Like Boaz, this Child of Bethlehem would be the Redeemer who purchased for Himself people of faith in Him from all nations.
It was important for the Christ child to be born in Bethlehem. So when the proper time arrived, God would take the reins of world history, working through a powerful Roman emperor who thought he was thinking for himself, just to arrange for Mary to be brought back to that little town.
There, in a poor humble stable, she would bring forth her firstborn Son, and lay Him in a manger. The eternal God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the All-Powerful Creator and Sustainer of the universe, would become a baby and sleep that first night on a bed of hay in Bethlehem.
“Come to Bethlehem and see Him whose birth the angels sing. Come adore on bended knee Christ the Lord, the newborn King!”