Tag Archives: Bethlehem

Christmas and the God of Surprises

Christmas is proof that God loves surprises. According to the prophet Isaiah, God had promised to bring light to people living in darkness, joy to replace sorrow, and freedom from the burden of oppression. He would do this by sending someone to rule with justice and spread peace everywhere. What is surprising about that? That the someone he was sending would be a baby. Continue reading

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Wide Angle: Operation Bethlehem

If you remove the Christmas story from the larger narrative that surrounds it, from the promises of God to rescue and renew his people, you still have a nice story but you may just miss the point. This little child … Continue reading

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Christmas Through the Wide Angle: The Line Becomes the Point of it All

If you remove the Christmas story from this larger narrative, from the promises of God to rescue and renew his people, you still have a nice story, but you may just miss the point. This little child is the fulfillment of the great promises. He is the king. Bethlehem is not just an inhospitable town; it is an invasion site. Bethlehem ought to be listed with Thermopylae, Troy, Normandy, and Omaha Beach. With the coming of this child the forces of the eternal kingdom have arrived, and the deciding campaign of the Long War has begun. Continue reading

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So This Is Christmas

It was in the Garden, not the stable, that the Creator first became Immanuel (God with us). (“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day…” Genesis 3:8). The Creator, a being of unimaginable power, who brought into existence the visible universe and, along with it, realities that are not visible (at least to creatures like us) was with humans: with them in ways they could readily perceive and in ways that caused them to flourish. He was Immanuel.
The Creator made the earth to be a place that would beautifully and remarkably sustain biological life. It was perfect. And on the earth, he made a place (Eden) that was supremely suited to a particular kind of biological life: the human. He placed two humans, a man and a woman, in that ideal environment. Continue reading

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Away – or rather, the way – in a manger

A man asked God how long a million years was to him. God replied, “It’s just like a single second of your time, my child.” So the man asked, “And what about a million dollars?” The Lord replied, “To me, … Continue reading

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Good thing Jesus isn’t afraid of dirt

In 2013, a record 2 million people visited Bethlehem. It was estimated that there were 75,000 tourists in the Holy Land for the Christmas holiday, and most of them were expected to celebrate Jesus’s birthday in the city where he … Continue reading

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