11 To you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. -Luke 2:11-
Every December 24, thousands of people of various nationalities from all walks of life will converge on the little village of Bethlehem, six miles from Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem. On Christmas Eve, pilgrims from all over the world will meet in the Shepherd’s Field and blend their voices in song and prayer. “O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM,” Philip Brooks beautiful Christmas hymn, will be sung in Hebrew, English, French, German, Spanish, and dozens of other languages.
At the Church of the Nativity, special services will be held commemorating the birth of Christ, and the beautiful bells in the tower of the church will blend their resonance with chimes, organ and cathedral bells around the world, as people everywhere pause to remember that first Christmas morning.
The nearby olive groves seem strangely quiet after Haifa and Tel Aviv. Humble Bethlehem is overshadowed by modern Jerusalem. Bethlehem seems so out of character in a world of fast jets, computers, and space exploration. Yet Bethlehem hits you with tremendous impact. Here the course of history was changed. Here God became flesh and dwelt among us. Today a 14-point star marks the spot where Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. The significance of Bethlehem cannot be overstated.
Bethlehem is a measurable distance from the place where you are at this very moment. It is our world to which Christ came, not a fairy-tale, make-believe world. The story of Christmas involves real people. Caesar Augustus, the Roman head of state, Mary, and Joseph, the carpenter to whom Mary was engaged, the shepherds tending their flocks outside of Bethlehem, were real flesh-and-blood people.
Catching the world with its depression, fear, strife, and turmoil, the message of what God did at Bethlehem needs to be told and understood.
A father and his small son were walking down the streets of a city during World War II. The child noticed a small flag with a star on it in the windows of certain homes and asked his father what it meant.
“Son,” explained the father, “this means that a father had a son who gave his life for his country.” Impressed, the little fellow noticed home after home where one or more stars hung on a flag in the window. Finally, the sun began to set in the western sky, and twilight turned into dusk. The evening star began to shine with a brilliant radiance. Noticing the star, the little boy exclaimed, “Oh, look Daddy. There’s a star in God’s window. He must have given a son too.
And that is the message of Christmas. God loved and God gave that we might be bought back into fellowship with the Father.

Pastor Gallo

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