It Happened at Bethlehem
The ministry of our Lord Christ did not begin at Bethlehem. It certainly did not end there; it never ends. Yet, what a red-letter day this was on the calendar of God's schedule to build us a highway to heaven.
Knowing Satan to be the world's sharpest smoke-screen artist, we do not wonder that he has thrown around Christmas many distractions. He is more than anxious -- he is desperate -- that we become so cluttered with the trivia and trinkets of Christmas that we cannot celebrate the tremendous thing that happened in Bethlehem that day. Let's you and me try to get a good, close-up look. Let me tell you the story as though I were Benjamin, a stable boy who was there.
The place is Bethlehem, a large house, partitioned into small apartments. You find your way down a dark hall to the designated door. There is a knock, an inquiry and a reply:
"Yes, yes, I'm Benjamin. Come in, out of that drafty hall. I have a fire in my room. You Gentiles never seem to take our Judean winters seriously, but if you'll sit closer to the fire I can see your face.
"So you want to hear about what happened that night here in Bethlehem. I will gladly tell. It has been well over forty years and that long the memory has been with me. The picture is an old friend by now, but bright, sharply bright, remembering a night sky that for an hour was another sky completely, a canopy for a world that can never be the same again. There is, in a special corner of my mind, a theatre, with the stage all set, the characters ready and cued to begin with one thought of that night. I close my eyes and the curtain goes up.
"You see, I was a stable boy at one of the inns in Bethlehem. It belonged to a man named Jesse, and he and his wife, Leah, managed the inn. It was my job to care for the beasts, to see that they were warm and fed and to clean up after them. I know it was not a great job, but it is a Roman world and I am not a Roman. I had awakened t ...
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