Birth in Bethlehem #AtoZChallenge

This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.

Bethlehem is the setting for the central part of the Christmas story. Mary and Joseph had travelled a long way to Bethlehem from Nazareth. In those days the only ways to travel overland were to walk, to ride on a horse, donkey or mule, or to ride in a cart or a chariot. Ordinary people would not have the luxury of riding in carts or chariots. A tradition has grown up around the story of Mary and Joseph that he walked and she rode on a donkey because she was expecting a baby.

The birth of the baby Jesus happened in Bethlehem. Thirty generations earlier (if I have counted correctly!) another baby had been born in Bethlehem. Obed was the son of Ruth and Boaz. He became the grandfather of King David. Ruth 4:13-22 Bethlehem was known as the City of David. There were twenty eight generations between David and Jesus.
Matthew 1:5-17

Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah were two of the prophets who prophesied about Jesus. Micah predicted that he would come from Bethlehem. Micah 5:2

The reason for their journey to Bethlehem was that Joseph had to register there for a census. The reason behind the census was the collection of taxes. Even 2000 years ago taxation was usual.

O Little Town of Bethlehem is a popular carol about these topics.

While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4


Bless #AtoZChallenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter BBless is a word often heard in conversation. Blessed is sometimes used as an alternative to a swear word. In modern translations of the Bible it is sometimes replaced by ‘happy’. Church services frequently end with a blessing. We are taught to count our blessings rather than grumble about minor troubles.

The words Bless, blessed and blessing are found many times in the Bible. Many important characters in the Bible give or receive a blessing.

In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, God blesses Noah Genesis 9:1 and Abraham Genesis 12:2, Genesis 22:17

The story of Noah is well known, because he built an ark to save his family and the animals from a great flood. Abraham became the father of many nations.

Jesus Christ is recorded as having included a list of things, which make people blessed in his sermon on the mount. These are known as the Beatitudes and are frequently read in church services. Matthew 5:1-12

Jacob cheated his elder brother Esau, receiving their blind father’s blessing instead of Esau. Genesis 27:1-40

Moses’ Blessing

Can you imagine being told by the king that if your baby was a boy it must be drowned in the river?
That is what happened to Moses’ mother.

Moses was born at a time when the Israelites were living in Egypt. The Egyptian ruler, Pharaoh, was oppressing them. He was worried that they were becoming too numerous, so he ordered that all male Israelite babies should be drowned in the river Nile. Moses mother hid him for three months. Then she waterproofed a basket and placed him in it. She placed it in reeds at the edge of the river, leaving her daughter to watch from a distance. Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby and took pity on him. Moses’ sister asked her if she would like a wet-nurse for him. Moses’ own mother was paid to look after him! Later he went to live in the court as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.

Moses was aware that he was a Hebrew. He intervened between an Egyptian and a Hebrew, killing the Egyptian and hiding the body in the sand. Later he tried to intervene between two Hebrews and learned that the killing was known. He ran away, because Pharaoh wanted to kill him.

For a long time he lived in Midian, where he married and became a father. Then, after he had heard God speaking to him from a bush that seemed to be on fire, he returned to Egypt to help the Israelites. Throughout his life he spoke to God and God spoke to him, guiding him and through him the people of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land.

Moses received the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). He also learned how the priest should bless the people with the words of a blessing, which is still used today. Numbers 6:22-27

Further reading: Exodus (My story is a shortened version of the book of Exodus.)


B is for Body and Blood

My posts for the A to Z Challenge this year are all about the Easter Story, recorded in 4 books of the New Testament: the Gospels. Image in sidebar links to Theme Reveal post.

Image in sidebar or below post links to Theme reveal

In this series of posts I intend to highlight certain aspects of the Easter story. My post for A was about Angels, which come later in the Easter story than body and blood.

Easter is the Christian festival, which has connections with the Jewish Passover meal.
Jesus and his disciples had gone to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. (Exodus 12)

The way in which Jesus celebrated the Passover on the Thursday before he died was unusual. In the same way that the festival of Passover was instituted, Jesus instituted the Eucharist (also know as Mass or Holy Communion).

In Jesus teaching he had claimed to be the Bread of Life. John 6:35 

Taking the bread at the Passover meal He blessed it and shared it with his disciples, saying, ‘This is my Body, which is broken for you’. Similarly He invited them all to drink the wine from the cup he blessed saying, ‘This is my Blood, which is shed for you.’ (In Luke’s account, Luke 22:7-23 . There is less detail in the other Gospels.)

Matthew 26:26-27Mark 14:22-23 and Luke 22:19-20

My Theme Reveal contains links to the Easter story in the New Testament.