Are you like me, do you find it easy to take things for granted? I am right there with you. As the old saying goes, “You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone” and it’s true. I have lived in New Prague my entire life, born and raised. It was here I played, went to school, went to church, met my wife, and most importantly, came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Not only this, but I have this amazing blessing of pastoring the church I grew up in. One of my greatest joys is to be serving the very community that has first served me.
Interestingly, New Prague shares some similarities to Bethlehem more than you may realize. It was a small tight-nit community. It was relatively unknown. It was passed through by big city dwellers. Amazingly, Bethlehem was the place Christ was born! Christ the Messiah, the only solution for our broken world (Gal 4:4), the only cure for sin (Lk 5:31), and the only way of salvation (Jn 14:6). It was said of Bethlehem years prior that “from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” Unfortunately, the day of Christ’s coming was planned long ago but was missed by most. Though the name Bethlehem means “house of bread,” sadly, most didn’t feel the hunger pains of their soul’s need for The Bread of Life (Jn 6:35).
What about you this Christmas? Do you sense a hunger in your soul to be saved? Are you weary of empty rituals that never wash away your guilt? Are you tired of trying to earn God’s forgiveness? Christ came because this is impossible to do without Him (Eph 2:8-10). Come to Bethlehem and see.
Pastor John Stephens
Community Baptist Church