O Little Town Of Bethlehem

It has been my joy to visit Bethlehem several times.

I have Palestinian Muslim friends there.

I have Palestinian Christian friends there.

I have sat with them, laughed with them, and eaten their wonderful food.

I have heard their stories – and a few of their heartaches.

I have walked their streets. I have walked around their walls – high, imposing walls – that can keep them from loved ones on the other side. Walls that create so much pain. . .and anger. . .and frustration.

I have been in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. I have been in the mosque in that same square.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. The angels who announced his birth said he came for all people (The Holy Injeel, Luke 2:8-20). He loves all people. He calls all people to follow him, believe in him, give him their lives, and know peace. Peace in the heart. Peace with God.

Jesus offers all people a gift – not just on Christmas – but every day. It is the gift of forgiveness. Forgiveness for every wrong we have committed (or every right we have omitted). Jesus offers us a clean slate with God. He offers an opportunity to know Him and receive His matchless love.

Today is Christmas.

Today I long for justice for the Palestinian people that the prophets spoke about. I love them.

Even more, I long for them – and for you – to receive the free gift of forgiveness. The gift that cost Jesus everything.

“. . .to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (The Holy Injeel, John 1:12-13).

O little town of Bethlehem, Jesus loves you.

So do I.

2 thoughts on “O Little Town Of Bethlehem

  1. I remember interviewing a Palestinian non-Christian university student back several years ago. He had been in a refugee camp. We got to meet for coffee over several weeks time and I heard about his experiences. Lots of heartache and lots of pain. He was not open to hearing about Jesus. So I prayed that seeds would be planted and the door would be left open for the next person that God would bring into his life.

    • Tom,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. And thank you for listening to his pain. I am sure it meant a lot to him.

      I am thankful that virtually all my Palestinian Muslim friends are open to talking about Jesus. They love Jesus as their book describes him. We love him the way our book describes him. There are significant similarities (born of a virgin, healed people, lived a sinless life, will come again) and significant differences (Son of God or not, died on a cross or not, Bible is unchanged or not, etc.) in our books.

      Let us build genuine bridges of friendship, trust, and understanding so we can share what we believe about Jesus with one another in all respect and honor.

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