Christmas In Bethlehem (Read An Excerpt)

Christmas In Bethlehem BookThe Christmas Story is timeless. Every December there are plays staged, musical extravaganzas, films shown and yes books published about the nativity of Christ. It is indeed a story worth retelling because of its ecclesiastical significance and the fact that it changed the course of history.

The Books of Luke and Mathew provide great narratives of this ancient event but because they are separate, we may not get a unified sense of what happened. In this book, I draw from these accounts and put the information they give us together. Added to that, I include details derived from further research, an analysis of the two Gospels and information from relevant parts of Scripture. The result is a combined narrative that remains consistent with the original accounts but gives a fresh perspective. When you read this book, you will get a renewed appreciation of the Christmas story and I am sure it will bless you.

Christmas In Bethlehem Excerpt

On the same night, in the same region, there were shepherds out in the rocky fields watching over their flock. They sat close to the fire they had kindled and took turns to observe their animals. While they watched, all of a sudden brightness—almost like daylight, surrounded them and they saw a magnificent angel. The shepherds were terribly frightened but the angel said, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”[1]

When the angel had finished speaking, there came a host of other angels from Heaven in the night sky and they all said in chorus, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”[2] The shepherds were amazed at this awesome spectacle but no longer afraid. They beheld the glory of God and it was a wonderful experience for them. They then saw the angels ascend into Heaven farther and farther until they could see them no more. These shepherds felt privileged that God had entrusted them with such important news. They said to themselves, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”[3]

The shepherds went towards the town of Bethlehem. They knew what to look for; the baby was in a manger so they would check the domestic animal sections of the various homes. These men knew the area well. Since it was night, there would most likely be an oil lamp where the child was, this would make it easily stand out. They moved with haste through the homes and it was not long before they found Mary and Joseph with the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths—lying in a manger.

When they found the child, the shepherds were overjoyed and loudly proclaimed what the angel had said concerning him. Those who heard were astonished. Mary listened and kept all that they said in her heart. After they had seen the child and were content, the shepherds turned back and as they went, they glorified and praised God for all the things they had experienced that night.

**

A few days after Mary had given birth, a caravan of men from the east arrived at Jerusalem. They were looking for a king who had recently been born. These men were divinely led to follow a star that would direct them to the child. They had come a long way from their land up to Judea, but the star disappeared as they approached Jerusalem. Drawing near and looking at the city, they could see Herod’s palace, citadels, monuments, the surrounding wall and the great temple. If a king were to be born, this would be the place to find him, so they thought. Once they entered Jerusalem, they began to inquire saying, “Where is he who was born king of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and we came to bow to him.”[4]

Now the men from the east were like princes and when they inquired about the “king of the Jews” the people of Jerusalem knew that they were referring to the Christ. Being from a far away land (and because of their regal appearance) what they said held much credibility. The people were stirred at the prospect that the Christ had been born. This news spread around Jerusalem and it soon reached King Herod. The king was troubled by what he heard because he saw this child as a rival to his throne. Herod was a cruel and ironhanded leader who craved power and even though this was only a baby, he was still seen as a threat.

Desperate to find the child and destroy him, Herod called together all the Chief Priests and scribes. He then inquired of them where the Christ was destined to be born, according to the prophetic writings. Answering him one of them said, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”[5]

Once Herod knew where the child would be born, he secretly sent for the men from the east. When they were brought to him, he inquired about the star they had seen. They told him everything he needed to know being completely oblivious of his intentions. Herod sent them to Bethlehem saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”[6]

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[1] Luke 2:10-12 (ESV)

[2] Luke 2:14 (KJV)

[3] Luke 2:15 (ESV)

[4] Mathew 2:2 (YLT)

[5] Mathew 2:5-6 (ESV)

[6] Mathew 2:8 (ESV)