The Whys of Christmas – Part 2

by DanWolgemuth on December 9, 2022


Christmas is a collection of unimaginable events, with unlikely heroes, and improbable circumstances. Yet, singularly, it is Christ’s birth in Bethlehem that provides the fulcrum on which all of history is leveraged.

And in this mystery, questions emerge. Not irreverent questions, but authentic and ponderous questions. Indeed, questions that only God can answer, but that are worthwhile to ask. It is often in the asking of questions that we become more awestruck with the vastness of the answer. 

To continue… Why There?


Bethlehem. The “city of bread”. Likely a town of about 300 residents. Six miles south of Jerusalem.

In some ways, I have a vision of God standing in front of a map of the world with a pushpin in hand and a blindfold in place… yes, birthplace pin the tail.  That’s why this question is so important.  Instead of a blindfold, a place of cosmic purpose.

A place of genealogical importance.

“Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons.” (1 Samuel 17:12a, ESV)

A place of royal significance.

“Samuel did what the LORD commanded and came to Bethlehem… And he sent and brought him (David) in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward.” (1 Samuel 16:4a, 12-13)

A place of prophetic fulfillment.

“But you, Bethlehem, David’s country,
    the runt of the litter—
From you will come the leader
    who will shepherd-rule Israel.
He’ll be no upstart, no pretender.
    His family tree is ancient and distinguished.”
(Micah 5:2, MSG)

A place on the outskirts of importance.

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel…”
(Matthew 2:6, NLT)

Yes, each of the above are true. Historically and theologically. They pour fuel on the fire of truth… and yet, the symbolic importance of Bethlehem is also deeply meaningful and important.

Perhaps one of the most relevant questions should be “Why Not…?” Yes, why not Rome. A mecca of political and population power and intensity. Or Jerusalem… just a few miles away. A hub of spiritual importance.

But no. Not God. Not for Jesus.

It was Bethlehem. An under-resourced community on the margins of significance. Indeed, there was no geographical privilege to the birth of Jesus. Just cosmic purpose. A message in a birth-location.

Yes, God cares little about the polling data, or the test market results. His plans confound our strategy and often undermine our marketplace knowledge and perspective.

God rescues the underdog and retrieves the outcast… because He came as one. He knows. He understands. He is Bethlehem. “The runt of the litter,” but the location of the most significant birth in human history.

Bethlehem. An icon of hope. A tiny town as the red carpet for the King.

God knows.

Yes indeed… Bethlehem.

To be continued…

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