The Gospel in Bethlehem

Pastor Tim Keller has written a little book picturing the giant joys of the Gospel in Bethlehem.

It’s called Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truths behind the Birth of Jesus.

I want to introduce you to this good read by letting the book speak for itself:

“Christmas, therefore, is the most unsentimental, realistic way of looking at life.

It does not say ‘Cheer up! If we all pull together we can make the world a better place.’

The Bible never counsels indifference to the forces of darkness, only resistance, but it supports no illusions that we can defeat them. Christianity does not agree with the optimistic thinkers who say, ‘We can fix things if we try hard enough.’ Nor does Christianity agree with the pessimists who see only a dystopian future.

The message of Christianity is, instead, ‘Things really are this bad, and we can’t heal or save ourselves; things really are this dark—nevertheless, there is hope.’

Bethlehem 2

The Christmas message is that ‘on those living in the land of shadow a light has dawned.’ Notice that it doesn’t say ‘from the world light has sprung,’ but ‘upon the world a light has dawned.’ It has come from outside."

There is light outside of this world, and Jesus has come from it to save us."

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9.1-2, 6