O Little Town of Bethlehem
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for meone who will be rulerover Israel,whose origins arefrom of old,from ancient times.” Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.He willstand andshepherd his flockin the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.And he will be their peace.
The Christmas story – filled with details and connections that make us go “huh? That’s not what I expected! Is that possible?”
humble, obscure earthly beginnings
out of the tribe of Judah – the royal line but,… this poor family?
from the town of Bethlehem – called Jesus of Nazareth,butthat does not indicate place of birth
An Ancient Origin
a mystery: an eternal one coming from Bethlehem
the God-man? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?
“Unto you isbornthis day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ, theLord“
a benevolent ruler – a good Shepherd
gave his life for his sheepJohn 10:11
Prince of PeaceIsa. 9:6For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
not only his name but his character to restore peace to a world in turmoil
gives us His peaceJohn 14:27Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
peace the world cannot give or comprehend – peace of heart
made peaceCol. 1:19-20For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
made peace possible between God and men
makes us at peaceRom. 5:1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
actually brings peace about; applied atonement reconciles sinful man to holy God, no longer enemies of God
is our peaceEph. 2:14For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,
brought peace between people who were former enemies
peace is on guardPhil. 4:7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
regardless of circumstances the child of God can be at peace – turmoil in the world, in the neighborhood, in the family, cannot overcome peace of heart and mind when it is guarded by Christ
“ Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee;”Isa 26:3