Words echo in my head. They melt over my heart and moisten my eyes.
after these weeks of Seeking the Christ Child in the Old Testament:
“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee…”
Thee: Bethlehem. Little town. One you’d never notice in and of itself.
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting” (Mic 5:2 KJV).
Town almost eternal, its history goes back so far. A history both hopeful and hopeless, sweet and sickly, benign and bloody. Yet the town of promise, the House of Bread.
The House of Bread Naomi fled when there was no bread, returning, ruined, decades later to a flush of barley harvest…
Where Ruth, arriving with her, happened on the bread harvest fields of Boaz, son of Rehab…
Where Rehab must have settled years before as refugee from pagan rule and prostitution, after fleeing not Bethlehem, but Jericho, fleeing by standing firm in faith till rescuers from God’s own people came as promised to bring her out, to bring her in.
Was it not to those same fields of Bethlehem that she came, and married Salmon and bore him Boaz,
who married Ruth,
who bore him Obed,
the father of Jesse,
the father of David the shepherd, the king, who foreshadowed Christ as both (Mt 1:5-6)?
And was it not on Bethlehem’s hills that he, the future King David, shepherded those flocks?
The light that both brightens and frightens.
For it was Bethlehem (by star brightness) the Magi sought, and Herod, soon hearing, soon fearing, sought to extinguish its Light once for all…
Just as cruel and mighty earth-kings through history had tried repeatedly to do, and failed…
He feared, and all Jerusalem with him…
But shepherds abiding on the wilderness hills, just as David long before them, saw the light, and followed in hope. The hope of ages…
“The hopes and fears of all the years…”
Met in Bethlehem that night.
May you, all dear readers, bask this Christmas in the hope, the peace and joy, of ancient Bethlehem’s Shepherd-King-Light. Nearing, not fearing “Jesu, joy of man’s desiring”… entering in, and settling in, the Bethlehem (House-of-Bread) of the heart.
The Prophecy: Micah 5:2
Seeking the Christ Child (in the Old Testament)
Through December, the blog posts here have been dedicated to searching for prophecies and foreshadowings of the Christ child, book by book — like the wise men, Seeking the Christ Child, but in Old Testament promises and foreshadowings, and sharing the findings.
The complete set of links to previous posts: