GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
FOUR ROADS TO BETHLEHEM
By Keith L. Estes
Luke 1: 46-56
Four roads lead to Bethlehem. The first is from Rome. It began with Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus when he decreed that the whole world should be enrolled. The emperor could not have realized that not he, but God, initiated that decree. God needed these events around the birth of Christ. They were part of His plan. God still rules world events, even today's unbelievable circumstances, hunger, confusion, displacements- all part of His decree, His highway that makes your life important. He decrees it too! God is the great helmsman of your life.
The second road to Bethlehem led from Nazareth. Joseph and Mary traveled this road. They were ordinary people, not rich, not poor, but had a good reputation. The journey to Bethlehem was an extraordinary event in the lives of ordinary people. You and I are ordinary people. Christ took His human nature from us. He came to save ordinary people, like you and me. He came to save sinners who appear ordinary but who commit the extraordinary sin of breaking with God. As we travel the road to Bethlehem with Joseph and Mary, although the road is long and dusty and our backpacks are heavy, yet the trip is exciting because Jesus joins us.
The third road to Bethlehem is from Heaven. For a while it was a very busy one. Angels came down that road in amazing numbers. They represented Heaven in greeting the newborn Savior. That road is our guarantee that in Christ's coming, harmony between Heaven and earth has been restored. The angels felt perfectly at home over the fields of Bethlehem. It was the shepherds who were shaken. They immediately inquired into its meaning. No matter what you feel at this moment, investigate the road. Remember that the distance between God and you has been bridged by Him.
The fourth road to Bethlehem leads from our hearts. We have no share in the Christmas gospel if we ourselves have not taken the road and traveled to Bethlehem to kneel before our Savior. The name Bethlehem means "House of Bread." Christ calls Himself the bread of life. We must partake of the "bread of life" if we are to experience eternal life. What an advantage there is for Christians who have traveled to Bethlehem and know the secret- the peace of God in their hearts- put there by the Prince of Peace.
Reference: Luke 2:1-4; Luke 2:13; John 6:32, 32; From the Advent Devotions, St. Paul U. M. Church, Largo, Fla. written by Elmer Hoodiman. 1992.
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