In that little inn in Bethlehem came the promise of a Savior. Just a baby. Who would have thought a promise could come in such a small package? And a king no less, born in a stable made for farm animals in a town far from home.
Small beginnings sometimes don’t feel very promising.
Bethlehem wasn’t fancy and had no glamorous appeal. It was a small town. Nothing special.
Bethlehem’s only claim to fame was as the hometown of King David and the place he was anointed king when he was just a small shepherd boy. David was promised the throne in that small birthplace of a town as a boy, unassuming and brave, bold enough to slay giants when no one believed in him.
He was the youngest of 7 brothers, overlooked by his father. He busied himself shepherding his small flock of sheep and sometimes killed bears with slingshots to protect those few animals under his care.
And in the middle of David’s ordinary life, God was preparing a place in an average family line and a spot in an ordinary small town to birth His extraordinary eternal promise.
Promises don’t always start big. They don’t always wow a crowd. Sometimes promises are birthed in the average everyday parts of our lives that seem really small and insignificant, in the moments that no one sees, in the places no one notices. Isn’t it just God to take those everyday moments and routines and places that seem so ordinary and small to be the very place he births a destiny?
The day David’s father called him in from the field so Samuel could anoint him King was just a moment of extraordinary in the middle of ordinary. His hometown, Bethlehem, was just a birthplace of a promise that he would cling to for a lifetime. David didn’t leave that day for the palace or even begin a royal preparation. He went back to tend his flock in the same ordinary field he worked every other ordinary day.
David’s faithfulness in small beginnings gave room for God to build into David the preparation and character he needed to become the greatest king in Biblical history.
In the years that followed he had some significant victories, devastating heartbreaks, spent time hidden in a few caves and lost a few friends. But God kept His promise. One day, David became king and stepped into a destiny that would usher in the birth of the Shepherd King many generations later in the same small town from which David came.
The promise was birthed in a moment but grew over a lifetime.
Bethlehem was just the beginning, just a birthplace.
Bethlehem means “House of Bread” and sometimes “House of Battle”. Out of Bethlehem came the Savior of the world, the bread of life, the Lamb. And out of Bethlehem came the battle for a promised king, one a shepherd boy and one The Shepherd King.
“But you, Bethlehem, David’s country, the runt of the litter—from you will come the leader who will shepherd-rule Israel.” Micah 5:2.
And out of Bethlehem comes my bread of life, my Shepherd King with a plan that started before time began. It’s Jesus in the middle of my small beginning that I find everything I need, every hope and dream sustained and the endurance for the battle.
One cold, starry night 2000 years ago a star shined bright over Bethlehem at the birth of the God’s promise. Jesus’ birth was only the beginning of a 33 year life destined to die on a tree and raise us up to life.
I sit here in front of my Christmas tree in the middle of my ordinary, everyday Bethlehem. When the kids are screaming, dishes are nagging, dogs are barking, life is pressing and in the middle of my mess He comes and begins a new thing. He raises me back to life. He challenges me to be faithful right here, right now in the middle of my everyday life because He wants to do something extraordinary.
The birthplace of a promise….the birthplace of a destiny.
“Don’t despise the day of small beginnings.” –Zechariah 4:9