Tag Archives: Bethlehem

Prayer for Silence

silence centeringJesus our peace, if our lips keep silence, our heart listens to you and also speaks to you. And you say to each one of us: surrender yourself in all simplicity to the life of the Holy Spirit; and with that surrender we may know you in a superlative way. Lord help me to observe a sacred silence. AMEN

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Jesus is in the Room

The baby born in Bethlehem came to die. His miraculous birth and his miraculous death and resurrection were eternally linked. The crucifixion was shattering to his disciples. They were lost without the Master and confused about the validity of their faith and the future of the Kingdom they had just begun to envision. Nothing made sense anymore, and they were consumed by loss. The desperation in the room had taken on a life of its own. So, the disciples sat huddled in darkness and fear.

Suddenly, Jesus was in the room! In that one miraculous moment, with His resurrected presence, everything changed. Prophecies fulfilled. Parables lived. Mysteries cleared. Fear melted away. Hope soared. Peace settled. Courage took hold.

Over the years of my life, I have known the presence of Jesus. I have known, without one shadow of doubt, when He was in the room. He has calmed my fears in anxious moments. He has given me hope in times of my deepest despair. He has provided for me a peace that defies understanding in the midst of great turmoil. He has shown me grace in my most unworthy actions. He has blessed me with healing in devastating brokenness.

So many things happen to us in life. We must handle both joy and sorrow on this journey. Broken family relationships, sickness, death, financial crises thrust us into situations where we, much like those early disciples, seem paralyzed and huddled in darkness and fear. The great thing one must remember and acknowledge is that His presence will be ever with us to heal and comfort and bless us with His grace and peace. His resurrected Presence gives meaning to the journey – Jesus is in the room.

Reflection – When have you known that Jesus was in the room?

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Give Me Your Sins

Jerome was a hermit, priest, and father of the church who guided the church as it translated the Bible from Greek to Latin, the language of the people. Jerome wanted the people to read and know the Bible. He lived in Bethlehem for a time to get a feel of how Jesus lived during his earthly journey. Oral tradition tells us that while living in Bethlehem, Jerome had a dream that Jesus visited him. TheJesus Quote 7-15.14 - 1 dream was so real that he rounded up all his material blessings and offered them to Jesus. He heard the Lord declare, “I do not want your possessions.” So being a good church leader, he offered all his money to Jesus. Jesus once again declared, “I do not want your money.” Finally, in desperation, Jerome cried out, “Jesus, what do you want from me?” Jesus simply replied, “Give me your sins. That is what I came for–I came to take away your sin. Give me your sin.”

That’s really what it’s is all about. Jesus wants our sins! He asks us to love and trust Him enough to be able to give all to Him. Our Lord asks us to confess the unforgivable and feel the warmth of His grace. Many of us are far too busy trying to impress God when all He wants is for us to trust in His promise. That promise is: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” As we bring our sins, He offers His rest. Jerome had it right, all Jesus wants is our sins.

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O Come All Ye Faithful

significance_0014_O Come All Ye Faithful_intro

The narratives of the birth of Jesus recorded in the Scriptures are told through the adoration of the baby by ordinary individuals like the shepherds, the magi, and Simeon and Anna.  They all recognized the baby as the Messiah, the Savior of the World.  They worshiped Him acknowledging that He was the one present at creation, foretold by the prophets, the long awaited Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.  He was God come down from heaven where He was worshiped and adored by angels for eternity – to be a man.  He would walk the earth, give himself up to die, and provide the grace to save the whole world.  He would rise from the dead; ascend back to heaven from whence He came to be eternally adored by the angels and the saints of all time.

 

My grandfather and I sat on his front porch one mild December afternoon.  My Grandfather was a man of simple but great faith.  I asked him what his favorite Christmas carol was.  He rubbed his chin, as was his habit and said, “Oh, that’s easy.  I love the one that tells us to come and adore Him.”

 

My grandfather with his beautiful tenor voice and I sang “O, Come All Ye Faithful” together that afternoon.  It is one of my most treasured memories of him.

 

During Advent, the faithful Church is invited back to Bethlehem to revisit Christ’s first coming to the world.  We are invited to listen to the choir of angels that sang to the shepherds.  We are invited to travel with the Magi and follow the star.  We are invited into the stable to behold the King of Angels and simply adore Him.

 

Needless to say, my favorite Christmas carol is “O, Come All Ye Faithful.”  I love to think of my grandfather in heaven adoring Christ face to face and singing with the voices of all of heaven’s hosts in that beautiful hymn of praise.  And every year during the Christmas season, I still sing it with him as surely as I did that day on the porch.

 

Reflection – Spend some time in simple adoration of Christ.

 

Monica Boudreaux

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Sacred

View of Bethlehem, 1898

View of Bethlehem, 1898 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Emperor’s registration has been a great boon for business, but a mass of confusion, crowding, and short tempers here in Bethlehem.  Since our humble village is the birthplace of the great King David those of his lineage have been required to come here to be counted.  Our sleepy little country town has been inundated by hordes of irritable citizens inconvenienced by the journey.  I warned my wife weeks ago that the inn would be filled to overflowing for these days. Together we made as many advance preparations as possible – more lamp oil, food, linens.  Still the rush has been more than we bargained for, and we’ve met some real characters.

A few nights ago, a most peculiar thing happened.  An exhausted young man came in just before sunset.  He had just arrived from Nazareth with his very pregnant wife and was desperate for a room.  I told him that I regretfully had nothing to offer him – there was not a corner to be had.  Something about his manner really captured my attention, though.  He wasn’t angry or annoyed as most were, but he just thanked me and turned to her with such concern and care.  For some reason it was terribly important that I help them.  It occurred to me that the cave in back which serves as a stable was empty.  When offered such humble accommodations they gratefully and readily accepted without a word of complaint.

Sometime during the night, I was awakened by a small group of shepherds that claimed to be looking for a baby.  I was bewildered, thinking perhaps they had had too much wine, but they hurriedly explained their reason for coming to the inn.  They related that angels had appeared to them in their field and told them of a Special Child they were to come and worship for He was the promised Messiah.  The angel instructed them to look for a baby in a manger.  I must say, I felt the strangest sensation and thought of the young couple in the barn.

We went back to see and before us was the most beautiful sight.  The young woman had given birth to a baby boy.  Her husband, I think he said he was a carpenter named Joseph, had cleared out the animals’ manger and put in fresh hay, and there the baby lay all wrapped in warm cloths.  The shepherds fell to their knees.

Although, I was confused and somewhat skeptical, I can truly say this was no ordinary child.  In that smelly old barn, there was a holy presence.  I have been drawn back in there many times in the last few days.  Something lingers – something sacred.

Look for opportunities to give compassion. Wherever Christ is, there is a holy presence.  Something lingers – something sacred.

Reflection – When has your spirit sensed a sacred presence?

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Forever Changed

The place where — according to the Christian f...

The place where — according to the Christian folk tradition — Jesus was born. The site is located in Bethlehem, precisely in the cave under the Church of the Nativity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have often wondered what Bethlehem was like a month after the birth of Jesus.  I am sure the magnificence of the night of the Messiah’s birth had begun to wan. The shepherds had settled into their boring routine of “sheep watching”.  The same field that had been the stage for an angel choir was now dark and cold and guarded by men huddled around a small fire, each questioning what he had really seen.  The innkeeper had completely forgotten the desperate young couple that had spent the night in the barn.  The manger that was the cradle of the King of Kings was now once again a feeding trough for cows.  Now that Caesar’s census was over, Bethlehem was once again a sleepy, country town.

Even though Bethlehem no longer considered the birth of the baby, now one month old, as significant, the world was forever changed that night.  Nothing would ever be the same again, because in their town, God came to this world to finish His marvelous plan to redeem the world.  Beginning that night, God was here to show us how much He loves us and how we ought to love each other.  He was here to show us how to serve unselfishly, forgive unconditionally, pray honestly, live abundantly, and die victoriously.

In the season of Advent, we join a continuous line of Christians who have celebrated for 2000 years the one who was born in poverty, lived sinlessly, died on a cross, and rose from the dead.  Jesus bought us a place in the Kingdom of God – here and now, and eternally in heaven.  He opened wide the doors of Kingdom living in today’s world.  He offers peace beyond our circumstances, hope beyond our dreams, joy beyond our expressions, wisdom beyond our understanding, and accomplishments beyond our abilities.

History was eternally changed that night 2000 years ago in a smelly barn in the dusty, country town of Bethlehem.  We date our calendar by the birth of Jesus.  He changed our approach to God, our worship, how we pray, and how we relate to each other.  The Christ Child brought grace greater than all the sins of the world – a world forever changed.

Reflection – What has changed in your life because of Christ?

 

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Something Scared

Ancient mosaic of Nazareth

Ancient mosaic of Nazareth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Emperor’s registration has been a great boon for business, but a mass of confusion, crowding, and short tempers here in Bethlehem.  Since our humble village is the birthplace of the great King David those of his lineage have been required to come here to be counted.  Our sleepy little country town has been inundated by hordes of irritable citizens inconvenienced by the journey.  I warned my wife weeks ago that the inn would be filled to overflowing for these days. Together we made as many advance preparations as possible – more lamp oil, food, linens.  Still the rush has been more than we bargained for, and we’ve met some real characters.

A few nights ago, a most peculiar thing happened.  An exhausted young man came in just before sunset.  He had just arrived from Nazareth with his very pregnant wife and was desperate for a room.  I told him that I regretfully had nothing to offer him – there was not a corner to be had.  Something about his manner really captured my attention, though.  He wasn’t angry or annoyed as most were, but he just thanked

me and turned to her with such concern and care.  For some reason it was terribly important that I help them.  It occurred to me that the cave in back which serves as a stable was empty.  When offered such humble accommodations they gratefully and readily accepted without a word of complaint.

Sometime during the night, I was awakened by a small group of shepherds that claimed to be looking for a baby.  I was bewildered, thinking perhaps they had had too much wine, but they hurriedly explained their reason for coming to the inn.  They related that angels had appeared to them in their field and told them of a Special Child they were to come and worship for He was the promised Messiah.  The angel instructed them to look for a baby in a manger.  I must say, I felt the strangest sensation and thought of the young couple in the barn.

We went back to see and before us was the most beautiful sight.  The young woman had given birth to a baby boy.  Her husband, I think he said he was a carpenter named Joseph, had cleared out the animals’ manger and put in fresh hay, and there the baby lay all wrapped in warm cloths.  The shepherds fell to their knees.

Although, I was confused and somewhat skeptical, I can truly say this was no ordinary child.  In that smelly old barn, there was a holy presence.  I have been drawn back in there many times in the last few days.  Something lingers – something sacred.

This Advent Season look for opportunities to give compassion.  In doing so you offer Christ’s presence to the world.  Wherever Christ is, there is a holy presence.  Something lingers – something sacred.

Reflection – When has your spirit sensed a sacred presence?

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Jesus is in the Room — Luke 24:36-53

English: Jesus Christ - detail from Deesis mos...

English: Jesus Christ – detail from Deesis mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The baby born in Bethlehem came to die. His miraculous birth and his miraculous death and resurrection were eternally linked.  The crucifixion was shattering to his disciples.  They were lost without the Master and confused about the validity of their faith and the future of the Kingdom they had just begun to envision.  Nothing made sense anymore, and they were consumed by loss.  The desperation in the room had taken on a life of its own.  So, the disciples sat huddled in darkness and fear.

Suddenly, Jesus was in the room!  In that one miraculous moment, with His resurrected presence, everything changed.  Prophecies fulfilled.  Parables lived.  Mysteries cleared.  Fear melted away.  Hope soared.  Peace settled.  Courage took hold.

Over the years of my life, I have known the presence of Jesus.  I have known, without one shadow of doubt, when He was in the room.  He has calmed my fears in anxious moments.  He has given me hope in times of my deepest despair.  He has provided for me a peace that defies understanding in the midst of great turmoil.  He has shown me grace in my most unworthy actions.  He has blessed me with healing in devastating brokenness.

So many things happen to us in life.  We must handle both joy and sorrow on this journey.  Broken family relationships, sickness, death, financial crises thrust us into situations where we, much like those early disciples, seem paralyzed and huddled in darkness and fear.  The great thing one must remember and acknowledge is that His presence will be ever with us to heal and comfort and bless us with His grace and peace.  His resurrected Presence gives meaning to the journey – Jesus is in the room.

 Reflection – When have you known that Jesus was in the room?

 Monica Boudreaux

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