Christmas is celebrated worldwide but only a few people understand the significance of the celebration. Jesus came for the whole world and not just some set of people. However, it is not everyone who accepts His birth as God’s plan of salvation for the world. Those who accepted Him are given the power to become His children. The place of birth of a child is very significant in a child’s history because the place is used in legal documents together with the name and the date of birth, to uniquely identify that child. In recent times, mothers have been encouraged to deliver their babies to a hospital maternity ward to forestall emergencies. Some parents place less or no importance on the place of birth of their wards; as such they make use of wherever they please. Jesus’ birthplace was prophesied long before He was born. As the Saviour of the world, His arrival was not heralded with pomp and pageantry. He had a humble birth but His birth made the town popular among the towns in Judea.

 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BIRTHPLACE OF CHRIST

Prophet Micah gave the prophecy about Jesus’ birthplace. He prophesied that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of Christ (Micah 5:2). Bethlehem means ‘house of bread’. The place was chosen as the birthplace of Jesus. Bread is important in Bible times; It was a staple in Israel’s diet and provided not only comfort but nourishment necessary for survival. It was used in temple worship to symbolize God’s provision and presence. Bread played an important role in Jewish Passover celebrations. God sent Jesus, the Bread of Life, to a hungry world over two thousand years ago so that through Him the world can be fed. The prophecy came to pass in Matthew chapter 2:56.When Herod sought to know where Jesus was born by inquiring from the chief priests, they replied The small town of Bethlehem was God’s choice of a birthplace for His Son. Though little among the towns of David, it became prominent as a result of Jesus’ birth. Bethlehem has become a global town because of the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning Jesus’ birth.

Little Town Turned Global

Bethlehem has become famous as the birthplace of Jesus. A town of low relevance was preferred by God to be the birthplace of the Saviour of the world. Bethlehem’s size and location were rather insignificant at that time. It was located six miles south of Jerusalem; it was a trade-route village between the Holy City and Egypt. It did not gain prominence until Herod built his fortresses, whose roads were shadowed by this ancient settlement. Author Ryken Taylor attests to, “how God can use what is seemingly unimportant to make a lasting impact.” We see this truth revealed throughout the activity story. Bethlehem has become the subject of countless carols and nativity plays.

Significance of Jesus’ Birthplace for Believers

God sent the Prince of Peace to give us peace as believers. He allowed the Bread of life to be birthed in the “house of bread”, Jerusalem was not chosen as the birthplace of the King of kings. God selected a town so small that it was not listed in the registry of towns2in Joshua15and Nehemiah 11. Not only was this unusual act the fulfillment of messianic prophecy(Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6), but also a demonstration of God’s preference. God used the Roman Empire’s taxation practice to draw Mary and Joseph to the appointed place of Christ’s birth at the appointed time. Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem to be counted in the census that took place during the time of Caesar Augustus in the entire Roman world because Joseph was a descendant of King David. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem gives credence to the fact that Jesus was a rightful descendant of King David whose city is Bethlehem.

Conclusion

Bethlehem has great significance as the birthplace of the Saviour of the world. The story about the birth of Jesus is incomplete without it. Today, many of the Christmas songs project the importance of Bethlehem. God’s choice of Bethlehem teaches us that He can bring obscurity to fame and that He can use insignificant people, places, and things to achieve His purpose. Therefore, do not underrate yourself in God’s plan.

Prayer: Father, let my lifestyle attract other people to You.

Post-Group Activity: Discuss some peculiarities of your place of birth and pray that people there will come to accept Jesus as their Saviour and Lord.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BIRTH OF JESUS

The birth of Jesus offers forgiveness, salvation, and deliverance from darkness. Having an understanding of the essence of Christ’s birth will make the celebration meaningful. The following are the importance of the birth of Jesus Christ.

It restores man to God: The birth of Jesus mended the relationship between God and man, which the sin of Adam and Eve caused the whole world. By their sin, humanity became cursed. The birth of Jesus, however, was the beginning of God’s plan to restore man to his original nature. This justifies the name of Jesus, Emmanuel, which means, God with us

It fulfills God’s promise to Abraham: Jesus’ lineage can be traced to Abraham. He was promised a seed who would sit eternally on the throne of David. That promise was fulfilled in the person of Jesus who is referred to as the Son of David.

It Demonstrates God’s Unconditional Love for the World: Jesus came to the world because of God’s love for humanity. Despite being the only beloved Son of God, He willingly sent Jesus to the world to demonstrate the magnitude of His love. His love for us cannot be quantified.

It births redemption for humanity: The consequence of sin is death. No other person qualifies to die for the sin of the world except the Son of God. Jesus came to the world to appease God’s wrath. By His coming, He began the redemption of man, which was completed by His death and resurrection (Hebrews 9:9-12).

It brings mediation: Jesus was the mediator between God and humans. He was the mediator of the new and better covenant. The old covenant was not perfect as the levitical priests had to make atonement for themselves too before atoning for the people. But with the atonement of Jesus, He appeased God.

How does Christ’s birth affect believers?

We became disciples because we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. The birth of Jesus brings us joy as believers. It assures us that we are included in God’s plan of salvation. As a result of His birth, we stand to enjoy the benefits of His coming. By Jesus’ coming to the world, we have a perfect model of love. The birth of Christ marked the event that gave rise to Christianity. Christianity is spreading widely today as a result of the life Christ lived when He was on earth. Jesus’ lifestyle teaches believers forgiveness, humility, compassion, selflessness, empathy, kindness, generosity, unity, peace, servant leadership and purposeful living. Christ’s birth helps believers to appreciate family lineage. As the birth of Jesus was possible by the power of the Holy Spirit, believers come to appreciate the need for the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that empowers believers to accomplish great things for God.

Blessings of Jesus’ Birth

The birth of Jesus is a blessing to the world. Believers, especially, are the beneficiaries of God’s generosity to the world. The following are some of the blessings that accompany the birth of Jesus:

Blessing of salvation: Jesus’ birth was the beginning of God’s plan of salvation for us. His death and resurrection was the climax of it. Through God’s salvation, we were rescued from eternal condemnation.

Blessing of reconciliation: Jesus came to the world to reconcile us to God. The sin of Adam and Eve severed our relationship with God. We became His enemy. However, the coming of Christ brought about the reconciliation process. At Christ’s death and resurrection, we were finally restored to God.

Blessing of divine nature: The birth of Jesus gives us a new nature. Christ imputed His righteousness in us. We now have His nature because we accepted Him as our Saviour and Lord.

Blessing of eternal life with God: Jesus was born to give eternal life to whoever accepts Him as Saviour and Lord. By His birth, we are assured of living with Christ in heaven. We need not fear death because Jesus has conquered it.

Conclusion

God was intentional about the coming of Jesus to the world. He loves to reconcile man to his original nature at creation. Even after the fall of man, He made provision for man to be reconciled to Him. He made provision for atonement through the blood of animals. It became a tradition to offer sacrifices to appease God. However, the blood of animals could not atone for the sins of man. Not until the dispensation of grace that Christ was revealed in the flesh. Although He was born humbly, His mission was to save the world by the shedding of His blood. He came to give life to whoever accepts