Bethlehem – John Gipson

Articles From My Files

This article From My Files is from The Keynoter church bulletin from Little Rock, October 12, 1995. The prolific John Gipson is the author. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. – JED

Bethlehem, a town located on the edge of the desert of Judah, just five miles south of the city of Jerusalem. It is situated on a rocky spur of the mountains of Judah just off the main road to Hebron and Egypt.

Here Rachel was buried; here Ruth and Boaz came to love one another and were married; here David went about feeding his father’s sheep, and was anointed by Samuel to be king.

The prophet of old, Micah, indicates future fame for this town when he says, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2).

And Micah was right! Matthew tells us that Jesus was born “in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king” (Matthew 2:1). When wise men from the East came to worship the Christ, Herod was troubled. He assembled all the chief priests and scribes and inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet” (Matthew 2:5).

Phillips Brooks, who died over 100 years ago, attended Harvard and felt the influence of such great teachers as James Russell Lowell, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In 1867, he wrote one of his famous songs, “O Little Town of Bethlehem:

O little town of Bethlehem! How still we see thee lie; Above thy 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.