by John Hutchinson
I love little towns – those out of the way places where everyone seems to know everybody. What a welcome sight they are when traveling the long, hot and dusty tracks of the outback!
Little towns sometimes rise to fame when they facilitate the birth of someone great. Auburn, a lower mid northern town of South Australia, was the birthplace of C.J. Dennis – one of Australia's great poets - and best known for his classic - 'The Sentimental Bloke.'
Just over the way from Auburn is Eudunda - the birth place of Colin Theile, an Australian author and educator who wrote children's stories – most notable being 'Storm Boy.'
Bethlehem was a tiny town, and little known until the birth of Jesus. Since then its popularity has grown – particularly at this time of year.
Interestingly, it was a town of expectation –waiting for the fulfillment of a prediction.
The incredible thing about the prediction was the improbability of Christ being born there. Joseph and Mary lived 150 km away and only journeyed to Bethlehem to register in a census - a long and tiring ordeal for an expectant mother who could have given birth at any inconvenient place on the way.
The prophet Micah, seven hundred years beforehand, had written: 'But you, Bethlehem ..., though you are small among the towns of Judah, Yet out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, even from everlasting.' (Micah 5:2-3)
The unlikely coincidence made Bethlehem one of the world's most famous little towns. The accuracy of the prediction is something to ponder.
Added to its wonder was the setting itself – Mary and Joseph in a cowshed. There was 'no vacancy' at the inn. How incredible that the Son of God should be found, of all places, in a cow's food manger!!
For Christians, it is very special. The angelic announcer said: '...behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the town of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord - You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' (Luke 2:12)
The shepherd's response: 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened...'
Few of us can get to Bethlehem but we can read and hear about this unique and special event and be aware that the one born there was indeed, 'Christ the Lord.'•