This Christmas season, if at all possible, hold a baby in your arms. What do you feel, think, and wonder about that sweet, innocent baby? Perhaps you marvel at the new life in your arms and consider the potential of
unique giftedness and blessings wrapped up in such a tiny bundle of life.
More that 2,000 years ago the birth of one baby born in the tiny, dusty village of Bethlehem changed the world and divided history into BC and AD. The Babe of Bethlehem became the hinge, the pivotal point on which the destiny of the world turns. dAs the small land of Israel became a crossroad of the world, so the Babe of Bethlehem became the crossroad that determines the direction your life will take. This Christmas it is imperative that you focus on the Babe of Bethlehem. Consider the true Christmas story. (Read Luke 2:1-40.)
First – consider BETHLEHEM’S CENSUS. The Roman Emperor Augustus decreed that all citizens of the Roman Empire must go to their own town to register for the census. Joseph, who was a descendant of King David, had to go to Bethlehem. Bethlehem was King David’s ancestral home. So, Joseph took Mary, his fiancée, who was with child by the Holy Spirit.
Augustus had no idea that in the midst of the Roman governmental census, that the Babe of Bethlehem, the one who would hold the governments of the world on His shoulders, would be born. Isaiah prophesied, “Listen, will you the royal family of David! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel – ‘God with us'” (Isaiah 7:13 NLT). “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal title: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6-7 NLT).
One day this Babe of Bethlehem will come to rule and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Presently he rules in the hearts and lives of those who make room for him. Does he rule in your heart?
Second – BETHLEHEM’S CHILD. Nowhere in the New Testament are we actually told to celebrate and commemorate this babe’s birth. We are told to celebrate and commemorate his death and resurrection. Why is that? Because Christ was born to die as a sacrifice for our sins. Christmas rightly celebrated, helps us remember why this child was born.
In Bethlehem there was no room in the inn. So Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger (a feed trough for animals). Christ was wrapped in swaddling clothes. Jesus came to die as a sacrificial lamb. (Read Isaiah 53.) He was wrapped in strips of cloth and laid in a tomb. On the third day He arose, proving He is the Christ, the Messiah. Handel’s “Messiah” reminds us that Christmas includes the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Bethlehem’s child must be crowned as king. Consider the manger Jesus was laid in. It reminds us that we must feed on Christ. This child of Bethlehem (Bethlehem means “house of bread”) announced that He is the Bread of Life. By faith and repentance we spiritually eat of the Christ of Christmas. His torn flesh and spilt blood on the cross is our salvation and daily bread.
Third – BETHLEHEM’S CELEBRATION. The night Christ was born an angel appeared to shepherds out in the field guarding their sheep. They announced the good news, “‘Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born tonight in Bethlehem.’ Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God. ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to all whom God favors'” (Luke 2:8-20 NLT).
For all those who receive Christ into their heart as Savior and Lord, there is a joyful celebration. Isaiah prophesied of this day, “In that day you will sing . . . with joy will you drink deeply from the fountain of salvation! In that wonderful day you will sing” (Isaiah 12 NLT). When the shepherds saw the Babe of Bethlehem, they went back to their flocks glorying and praising God. When you really see the Babe of Bethlehem and receive him as your Savior, you will sing a new song and celebrate with joy, in worship of Christ the Lord. Christmas brings the joy of Christ.
Today you can receive the new life that the Babe of Bethlehem came to give you.
A – Admit you have sinned. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
B – Believe in Jesus. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
C – Confess and leave your sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)