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O Little Town


Day 3

Yet in thy dark streets shineth

So it is the family Christmas quiz time, and you have been able to answer all the questions about the great Christmas songs, the Christmas movies, and the Christmas food. You are in the lead, and there is one question left to be answered. Get it correct, and you have the bragging rights for another year. However, the last question is about the Biblical account of Christmas. Now that might either sound an easy option, or make you sink your head into your hands in despair. But what a relief! The question is “Where was Jesus born?” You have won! You know the answer. It is of course Bethlehem. You may or may not have read the Bible, but you most likely know the Christmas Carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. Seven hundred and fifty years before the birth of Jesus, Micah recorded a prediction in the Bible that a special child would be born in Bethlehem (Micah Chapter 5v2). That prediction was fulfilled, and you can read the account of how Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem, in Chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke in the Bible. But I wonder if you have thought any more about the words of the Carol. Here is the first verse

“O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie,
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by,

Yet in thy dark street shineth, the everlasting Light,
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight”

Bethlehem was, and still is just an ordinary town, with the same dark streets that are found in many of the towns and cities in our own land. Streets that are dark with social, racial and religious tensions. Streets with homes that are dark with hearts broken by bereavement, by family tensions and ill health to give but a few examples. It was on Friday afternoon that news began filtering through from America of a tragedy, where 20 children and 6 adults have lost their lives in a school in Newton, Connecticut. In that town, the streets are dark with indescribable grief that was felt so keenly in similar circumstances in our own land in 1996.

Yet it was into an ordinary town, with dark streets that an extraordinary child was born; the one who was described as “The Light of the world”.

John the Apostle writes about Jesus as “The light of the world” in his Gospel in the Bible. Here are some quotations;

“In him [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John Chapter 1 v4&5, The Bible).

“[Jesus] the true light that gives light to every man, was coming into the world” (John Chapter 1v9, The Bible).

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John Chapter 8v12, The Bible)

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no-one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John Chapter 12v46, The Bible)

Yet in thy dark streets shineth…

Whatever dark street of life you find yourself in this Christmas, look for the “Light of the world.”