Dec 20, 2016
Giza built pyramids fit for a king. Athens gloried in the Acropolis envied by the wise. Rome boasted of her Colosseum and her military might. Jerusalem took pride in her Temple, the place of the worship of the true God. Yet, not one of these receives as much praise in songs and hymns as the little town of Bethlehem.
David was born in Bethlehem. Here Samuel anointed him king in place of Saul. And, from the well of Bethlehem, three of David's bravest soldiers at the risk of their own lives brought him water to refresh him in the midst of battle.
Micah, eight centuries before the coming of Christ, predicted that an honor greater than David's fame would crown this tiny hamlet. Moved by the Holy Spirit, Micah prophesied, "But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, least among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth…one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient times" (Micah 5:2). The birth of Jesus bathes Bethlehem with the splendor of heaven's glory.
In biblical times, the fields surrounding Bethlehem produced an abundance of grain, figs, vines, almonds and olives. It was here that Naomi and her daughter-in-law returned at a time of famine in Moab. Ruth went to glean the grain in the fields of Boaz, whom she married and then became the great-grandmother of David. Because of its rich fertility, the whole region was called "Ephrathah." The name means "fruitfulness" or "abundance." How fitting that such a place would be the birthplace of Jesus who brings the abundance of grace to the world.