For a long time, I’d assumed that Bethlehem was a bustling, prosperous city – the key word being, “assumed.” Then years ago, I discovered that wasn’t always the case, but I didn’t pursue the matter any farther. When I decided to use the most famous Christmas hymn, “O Little Town of Bethlehem’ as a foundation for this week’s article I wanted to gather a few verifiable facts about this iconic place.
First of all, in contrast to its current population of nearly 30,000 people, at the time of Jesus’ birth, on-line sources put its population at between 300 and 1,000 inhabitants. (https://www.redletterchristians.org/bethlehem-then-and-now/)
The year of Christ’s birth Caesar Augustus decreed that inhabitants of the Roman Empire were to travel to Bethlehem to “be numbered” for the purpose of implementing better taxation records. They certainly weren’t alone in travelling to the city for, the Bible says, there was no room for them to stay. “Bethlehem was filled to overflowing.” They heard that there were caravan stables, created by opening up the side of the rock and situated near the inn. This source says the space had been cleared of animals and cleaned up to make space for lodgers. It was here, in those most humble of circumstances, that Jesus Christ was born.( https://truthbook.com/jesus/mary-mother-of-jesus/mary-travels-to-bethlehem)
From those thoughts, my mind turned to the realization that He came to die for me! For the world, yes; but, for me? That got me musing on the years I’d struggled with a sense of non-importance but as this glorious truth hit home some time ago, I’ve realized that “the world” is comprised of “ones.” That means that you and I are not insignificant but rather the focus of God’s redemptive love.
“…so God imparts to human hearts, the blessings of His heaven.”
For God so loved the world, including you and me.