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Encouragement

Where is Your Bethlehem?

Mary and Joseph knew they would travel far from family and into a city whose streets would be overcrowded with many people on the same journey…

Written by Rev. Trevor Yeaman—ACOP Administrator

“Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem… He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”

Luke 2:4-5

It wouldn’t have been an easy journey, especially for Mary, who was nearing the end of her pregnancy.

Why did she go? It was decreed by the government of the day that everyone had to go to their own city and participate in a census. It’s also possible that Mary was ready to leave the village of Nazareth where judgment about her pregnancy and unmarried status was in abundance.

Mary and Joseph knew they would travel far from family and into a city whose streets would be overcrowded with many people on the same journey.

Nearly nine months before their arrival in Bethlehem, Mary spoke life-changing words to God, words that were to comfort her in the many uncertain years ahead. “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

With those simple words of faith, she could endure the long journey on the back of a donkey, the cold streets of Bethlehem, the staring faces of strangers, and even the filthy smelly stable with its straw-lined manger.

Where is your Bethlehem?

The last few years have been difficult for many people and the journey has been long. Covid has changed how we live—how we interact with one another. It has put strains on marriages and relationships; pastors have had to pivot numerous times. People have been uncaring and even hurtful with their words, circumstances, and situations—difficult.

I want to assure you that when we give ourselves as servants to a loving God, we can—in quietness and confidence—add “May it be to me as you have said” no matter the place or position in which we find ourselves!

My humble prayer for you as friends, family, and community is that you would know that the overcrowded streets you walk are filled with many people on the same journey.

Although these days are uncertain, may God give you a supernatural ability to walk more confidently in the year ahead, no matter the situations or circumstances.

As you journey through the streets of your Bethlehem with staring faces of strangers and the smelly circumstances of this world, may you continue to extend grace and ignite hope in the community that God has called you to!

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