Published December 25, 2014
I had the incredible experience last year of traveling to the Holy Land. I had been before, but it never grows old to walk in the land of the Bible.
One special moment was visiting the Church of the Nativity. Beneath the church is an ancient cave that very early was identified as the place where Christ was born. Of course, we don’t know for sure, but the tradition is strong for that location. We tend to think of that with which we are most familiar, a wooden stable, above ground, but it was common for stables to be in underground grottos with lodging in the upper part for the residence.
The line was long going from the entrance of the church, down the stairs to the room below where people were crowding in to see the traditional place where Christ was born.
It is interesting that there are two locations there. One, where they say, “Now, this is where Jesus was born,” and another next to it where they say, “This is the location of the manger.” Listening to the monologue of the guides leading the various groups through is interesting, but the thoughts in my mind were probably similar to what you would be thinking: “It doesn’t matter where the exact spot is, the miracle is that God became flesh and dwelt among us.”
It was impressive and encouraging to see the numbers of people and to hear the languages from all across the world in that small place. Believers from everywhere had come to see the place where Jesus was born and to worship. Many were bowing down, kissing the floor, and praying aloud. Others, like me, were standing quietly and thanking God for sending His Son to be our Savior. It is not that we worship the place where Jesus was born, but that we rejoice that God loved us enough to take on human flesh and dwell among us.
John’s Gospel says it so beautifully:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him; and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness did not comprehend it… He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1: 1-5, 10-14) (NASB).
In the midst of a very busy Christmas season with many church activities, school programs, and community events, as Christians, we do well to find some moments to quietly worship in our hearts, thanking the Lord that He took on human flesh and dwelt among us so that we could see His love, so we could know that the words spoken by prophets through the centuries became the Word, taking on flesh and dwelling among us.
Janice and I, and all our family, pray that God will bless you and your family with the most wonderful Christmas ever, a precious time with family and friends, and most especially time to worship and to praise God for being willing to take on flesh and dwell among us.
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