The Advent season is a time of anticipation, waiting, and preparation. During the month of December, Time With God will break from its regular format to explore selected passages and characters connected with the coming of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with Us. 


Bethlehem was a sleepy, little town only about five miles southwest of Jerusalem. It was in the middle of the fertile hills of Judah, the breadbasket of Israel. The word Bethlehem even means “house of bread” in literal translation. It was a place for farmers and shepherds—the common folks who make the food that people eat. It was Bethlehem where David was born. Like his hometown, David was small, the last of his family, and easily overlooked. Yet, David became, undoubtedly, the most honored king in all of Israel. Bethlehem was known as the “City of David.” It was their claim to fame. That is, until Jesus.


Old Testament Reference:

Micah 5:2

 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
    one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
    from ancient days.

New Testament Fulfillment:

Luke 2:4-7

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Jesus was a real person, born in a real town, among real people. The people of Bethlehem were not glamorous, or famous, or wealthy. They tended their flocks and sowed their fields and lived their lives around the rhythm of the harvest. They loved their families and did their jobs. And into their midst came the promised King, in the form of a baby, born in a cave. Real pain, real blood, real people. Easily overlooked, because the circumstances were so common. Yet, Jesus entered through this common place to invite us, common humanity, into relationship with the singular, almighty, and completely uncommon God of the universe.

God shows up in the ordinary. Do you have eyes to see him? Do you have ears to hear him?

  • Pray that God would make you alert to how he is working, that you might not miss him in the common, everyday parts of your life.
  • The carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, was written in 1868.[1] Make this old song your prayer today.

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above your deep and dreamless sleep,
The silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God, the King,
And peace to men on earth.
For Christ is born of Mary,
And gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous Gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sins and enter in,
Be born to us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell:
Oh, come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!

[1] O Little Town of Bethlehem, by Phillips Brooks & Lewis Redner, 1868.