Today's reading

So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). –Genesis 35:19 NIV

December 18, 2021

Little Town, Big Meaning

So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). –Genesis 35:19 NIV

In 1868, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” was written by Phillips Brooks for his Sunday school class. We still sing this beloved Christmas carol today. What was so special about this little town that God chose it to be the birthplace of His Son? Why was the death of Rachel noted to be at Bethlehem? A glimpse of the future Messiah is found hidden in this obscure verse. God knew what would transpire here hundreds of years later. Rachel’s name in Hebrew means “little ewe” or “little lamb,” and Bethlehem means “house of bread.” In Matthew 2:1 (NKJV), we read, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king….” Here we have the sacrificial lamb being born in a town named for bread. Jesus is both the “spotless lamb” and the “bread of life” as His body was broken for us on the Cross. In Bethlehem, Rachel dies giving birth to a child. In Bethlehem, a child is born who will later die to give us life. Wise men and shepherds worshipped the Savior in this little Judean town. Today, let’s die to selfish desires and worship the Savior who gives us life eternal.

prayer focuses

Thank God for sending the best gift of all and for weaving the salvation story from the beginning to the end in His Word.

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you keep your focus on Jesus this Christmas instead of the usual distractions.


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about the


Gloria Shrock

Gloria, a registered nurse, is blessed with two adult daughters and six grandchildren. She loves going on mission trips with her husband, Randall, reading the Word, and journaling what the Holy Spirit speaks to her.