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Matthew 2:1-2 and Luke 2:1-7 describe the events of Joseph and Mary leaving Nazareth and going to Bethlehem in response to the census decreed by Caesar Augustus. The prophet Micah even foretold the birthplace of Jesus hundreds of years before the actual event took place (Micah 5:2).
The importance of Jesus’ birth
Information about Bethlehem
1) Matthew 2:1, 2 says, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’”
2) Luke 2:4-7 says, “Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David…And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
3) Micah 5:2 says, “But you, Bethlehem, Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”
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But far more important than where Jesus was born is the fact that He was born. Jesus came to earth to live with us and to be one of us. The angel told Mary that she would have a son and that His name was to be called “Immanuel” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
The apostle John wrote: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“The Word [Jesus] became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). That's the miracle of what happened at Bethlehem.
Today, the little town of Bethlehem lies in the limestone hill country of the Holy Land about six miles south of Jerusalem. The Church of the Nativity, the oldest Christian church in daily use, marks the traditional spot of Jesus’ birth and is considered one of the holiest sites in Christendom.
The birthplace of Jesus attracts some 2 million visitors each year. Crowds of tourists are especially large at Christmas. Lines are long; hotels and other lodgings are sold out. Locals joke that there would still be no room at the inn for Joseph and Mary if they showed up in Bethlehem today.
Although small, Bethlehem has a rich history in the Bible. It is called “the city of David” (Luke 2:4) because it was the hometown of that mighty monarch of Israel. Bethlehem is where Jacob buried his beloved wife, Rachel, when she died in childbirth (Genesis 35:19, 20). Bethlehem is where Ruth gleaned in the fields of Boaz (Ruth 1:22; 2:4). It was in Bethlehem that the prophet Samuel anointed David to be king of Israel (1 Samuel 16).