But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah…

The Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

The Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

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.

–  Micah 5:2

Over the weekend, a friend’s Facebook post reminded me that around this time some 31 years ago, we were returning from a trip to Israel where we visited, among other religious sites, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Borders have changed and things are a bit different there now.  But I remember being hear a field outside the city and wondering if that was indeed the same field where the angels appeared to the shepherds.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

–  Luke 2:8

Who knows if we were in the same field, or whether the Church of the Nativity is on the actual spot of Christ’s birth?

Well, I’m sure the Lord knows, even if humans don’t.

But that one silent night changed the course of human history, and changed the course of eternity.

Simple, quiet, humble.

The hope for the world was born that night in the most unlikely of places.

I’m trying to spend some quiet time this week thinking about all of that.

It’s been a rocky fall.  I don’t need to recount all of that here.  Things are looking up and getting some rest is helping, as well as detoxing from the prescription drugs.

I’m looking forward to enjoying a little silent night myself.  And silent daytime as well.

I think back to Bethlehem, to my visit there, and to what happened there some 2,000 years ago.

Lift up your heads
No need to mourn
His hand is stretched out still
For unto us a child is born
His promise to fulfill
Jerusalem! He cried for you
He did not come to us in vain
His loving arms are open wide for you
And he will come
He will come again

Words and Music by Morris Chapman


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