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Journey to the Manger: Advent, December 8, 2013

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Advent means coming or arrival. The celebration of Advent by Christians is the anticipation of the coming of the Christ Child as well as his anticipated return as Christ the King.

Come here daily in December for your Journey to the Manger. Readings here will look at the symbols of advent and provide suggested readings and meditations.

On Day 8, consider the town of Bethlehem where Jesus was born.

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.
~ Micah 5:2

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

~ Luke 2:1-7

Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love.
~ Lucinda Franks

The star of Bethlehem was a star of hope that led the wise men to the fulfillment of their expectations, the success of their expedition. Nothing in this world is more fundamental for success in life than hope, and this star pointed to our only source for true hope: Jesus Christ.
D. James Kennedy, Christmas Stories for the Heart

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 streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
~ Phillips Brooks, 1867

Suggestion: Make a symbol of the City of Bethlehem for your Advent tree. Pray for the City of Bethlehem. While Bethlehem has one of the world's oldest Christian communities, the city is under Muslim control.

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