This time of year in Israel always seems strange for us as Americans. Christmas lights, carols, and the holiday spirit that are a wonderful reality of everyday life during the holidays in the States are virtually nonexistent in the Holy Land. To us this seems odd because this is the Land of Christmas! Israel is the place where the story of Christmas happened. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary in Nazareth to bring the glad tidings that she would bring forth a son and call his name Yeshuah and He would reign over the house of Jacob forever, Luke 1:26-33. The tiny town of Bethlehem in Ephratah as foretold by the prophet, Micah 5:2, became the place of His birth. The rolling hills of the Galilee by the Sea, where we live, became the place of His public ministry. Disciples were mentored and multitudes marveled at the words He said and miracles He performed. This land is a fitting stage where the reality of the events of the birth, life, and death of Yeshuah occurred.
As we live in Israel with the absence of the atmosphere of Christmas it causes us to ask ourselves the question:
“What is the true meaning of Christmas?”
We would agree that it’s not Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, Christmas cookies, or receiving the latest gizmos and gadgets. But what is the answer? What is the truest meaning the season?
Believing! That the child who was born in Bethlehem, Isaiah 9:6-7, was the Son of God sent to be the Savior of the world, Matthew 1:21. Worshipping the King! The Christmas season gives us ample opportunity to express our gratitude for the forgiveness and grace we have experienced as our key to everyday joy.
Hoping! A sure hope based on the promises of Scripture that one day the Messiah who once suffered for sins will reign sovereign as the King of the universe, Isaiah 53:10. Current events give us little reason to jump up and down and cheer, aside from the hope of God our lives would be overrun with fear, sadness, and confusion. Praise the Lord that we have His plan and that we have experienced His grace. This Christmas is a wonderful opportunity, wherever you are, to remember that we have a Savior who has given us purpose in life, not only during the month of December, but every day!
From BII Staff & Students In Israel« Back to Blog