Devotion for December 21
By Bryan Chapell

The shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. (Luke 2:15-16)

Many of us grew up singing the Christmas carol “Oh, little town of Bethlehem. But we may have become so familiar with the lyrics that we’ve neglected to marvel at the message they carry.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, Bethlehem had become a town of little importance – fallen from its renown as David’s city. In fact, most people avoided it on their way to Jerusalem. 

Still, God’s graceful design was to use the dingy town to bring his divine Son into the world. On that day, Bethlehem shone so brightly that we would sing of her: “The hopes and fears of all the years were met in thee tonight.” 

The King of Glory came to a forgotten town, in an oppressed land, to be laid in a cattle trough, by a disgraced mother, of a transient family, and to be announced to the world by lowly shepherds. Where’s the grace in all of that? You know. 

God chose the weak and despised things of this world to display his glory, so that when we are forgotten, weak, disregarded, disgraced, displaced, poor, and lowly, we will remember that God does not despise coming to us. So do not fear to come to him.

Father, just as you used the flawed features of the insignificant town of Bethlehem to display the glory of Jesus’ grace to persons like me, so also convince me that you can use me – even me – to bring his good news to others.

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