Words echo in my head. They melt over my heart and moisten my eyes.
Words of a song, voicing the thought repeating these last two days,
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?
And now, there, in the House-of-Bread town, in a manger, feed box for sheep, lies the Bread of Life, and the Great Shepherd of all who seek God. There in the darkness lies the Light of the world.
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
The more recent, yet more ancient-sounding tune.
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:
(4) – Wrestling Babies Lead to Christ?
(5) – Hope Hanging by a Slender Thread
(6) Power in Small Things, and Fear of Babies
(7) Heart-felt Reflections on Foreshadowings so far
(9) Two Widows and a Prostitute
(10) Two Poetesses (Their Babies Made them Sing)
(11) Tangled Strands and Broken
(13) Broken Weavings, Strands, and Stumps
4 thoughts on “Met in Thee”
I read the post from yesterday as well as today. My work gets in the way of my reading, but work also puts feet on faith and makes what I read here most real. From yesterday I loved the contrast of the black sky and the blinding of angel light, and your words
Do not those in deepest darkness notice first and best the smallest spark? So when the Great Light dawns, it overwhelms with ecstasy?
Yes, in blackness one searches for light, even a spark. I am in such a place at work and your words resonate in my being. I notice sparks and pray for an explosion. He may have to have me undergo a personal combustion. I choose willingness. I pray for wisdom.
Now today you speak of Bethlehem and then go through the history of Bethlehem as it relates to the lineage of Jesus AND because you have taken your readers (of whom I am one) through the lineage over the past month, each and every sentence is packed with meaning for me. God knew I needed to know you, read you, learn from you. Thanks for all your efforts here. They have made my Jesse tree, advent with the lighting of the advent wreath, and nativity expand beyond my wildest dreams.
[He]… is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, Ephesians 3:20
So glad you got time to stop by, read, and comment. You are a great encouragement to me. Answered prayers for exactly what I asked: that the blogging efforts I make would help deepen at least one someone’s faith, walk, fellowship with God, appreciation of Him, or just comfort and strengthen hope. As you know, we usually have no idea if what we’re offering does any of that or not. I stand in awe, too, of how God brings just the right people together at just the right time to give us what we most need at that moment — through each other. It’s wonderful how he makes beautiful friendship happen between people who’ve never even met. I am so glad this series was of help and value for you. I think it has a lot to do with how well the hungry soul feeds! Anyway, what a blessing! A very MERRY Christmas! (Looking forward to seeing what He has in store for us in 2012! May He give you many sparks of beauty in darkness, even (benign and gentle) explosions of grace. 🙂
Merry Christmas Sylvia and Jim!! May the Peace and Joy of our Savior’s birth fill your hearts today and always. Love in Christ!
And a very richly blessed Christmas to you and all yours, Bobbi!
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