O Little Town of Bethlehem

abide with us print from besmallstudios.com

Do you know the lyrics to “O Little Town of Bethlehem”? It seems funny that there is an entire song dedicated to a place in the Bible. The detail of Bethlehem (and day 13 of Truth in the Tinsel) seems more geography than theology.

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel

However, the Christmas story taking place in Bethlehem is not a geographical detail but a gorgeous reminder and picture of the miracle of Jesus coming to earth as Emmanuel, “God with us”.

I mention in the ebook that Bethlehem means “house of bread” and that Jesus describes Himself as the “bread of life” (John 6:35). Did you also know that King David was born in Bethlehem? King David, the shepherd boy, the man after God’s own heart born in Bethlehem where the King of Kings Jesus, the Good Shepherd, God’s own Son would be born. What foreshadowing and fulfillment!

Every detail of the Christmas story seems to be connected with layers of meaning and significance. And I think He gives us these details to further convince us of His love, His miracle and intimate care for us.

One of my favorite Christmas books, Why a Manger? by Bodie Thoene explain that Jesus was born in Bethlehem for another reason: this is where the sacrifical lambs were born and raised. The shepherds who saw the angels and then found Jesus in the manger, were the shepherds who raised lambs to be sacrificed in the temple. So, “where else would ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29) have to be born if not Bethlehem, among the sacred Temple flocks?”

God sent Jesus to be Emmanuel, to abide with us as the Lamb of God, to take away our sins. He was born to die. He came to give us life. Thank you, Jesus, Lamb of God!

My friend, Annie from Be Small Studios recognizes this same wonder of Jesus, King, Bread, Lamb, Emmanuel. She’s created some beautiful paintings (like the one pictured above) based on beloved Christmas carols. Please check out her site!

What’s your favorite Christmas carol?

Comments

  1. Beautiful paintings! I’d love to have one! :)

  2. I’m getting ideas for my daughter who is just 6 months old. I hope to start Truth in the Tinsel with her next Christmas!

  3. These are beautiful! Would very much like to have one for my home!

  4. I’m really enjoying the Truth in the Tinsel with my boys. With our schedules, I’ve found it best to do the crafts in the afternoon, after a snack time, or after dinner. I absolutely LOVE how the “song” craft came out, and I’m thinking of using that for a Christmas gift to the grandparents next year!

  5. What a great post! I love how God has such an awesome master plan!

  6. Thanks for a great giveaway!

  7. I confess… we aren’t doing Truth in the Tinsel this year!! We had such a great time with it last year and the kids enjoyed the crafts so much that I thought for sure it would be the same this year… momma just didn’t get started right. I’m hoping to pull out last year’s ornaments and read through some of the Scriptures and stories! :)

    by the way, I already own this fantabulous print from Be Small Studios… bought it during her Cyber Sale! However, I would love to give it as a Christmas present if I happened to win it here! :)

  8. This looks fun for when my kids get bigger.

  9. It’s going well! We’re a day behind, but I plan to catch up today or tomorrow. I don’t know if I’ve learned anything NEW yet, but I LOVE the way each day reinforces the prophecies with the scriptures and engages my little guy with JESUS! :)

  10. Gorgeous! Would LOVE to have it in our home! I just edited out a ton of hand-me-down decorations and wanting to replace with meaningful ones! This would be perfect.

  11. I love TITT! I also love scripture word art!

  12. Kirsten Chavez says:

    Love this giveaway! Beautiful!

  13. Katie Sanderson says:

    I love these prints! We are really enjoying our Truth on the Tinsel…thank you!

  14. We are loving the Truth in the Tinsel study. We haven’t been able to get to it every day but we are enjoying it nonetheless. We have to take ornaments for gift exchange at a Christmas party this Saturday. Some of the kids are planning to take ornaments made from Truth in the Tinsel. Thank you for a well thought out program.

    God’s Blessings to you and your family this CHRISTmas season of celebration.

  15. Our family will be doing Truth in the Tinsel next year with our “baby” is older! Great book with an even better story!

  16. Beautiful!

  17. we are doing the Jesse Tree Advent readings by Ann Voskamp

  18. We are enjoying Truth in Tinsel. We don’t do every craft, but do all our readings!

  19. Ive loved doing the Truth program at our school. It’s our last week and I’m so glad I did it!

  20. Angela Robbins says:

    The print is beautiful! Thank you for such a great giveaway and for all of truth in the tinsel :)

  21. This is so sweet :-) I’d love to have this for our home!

  22. beautiful post and painting!

  23. We didn’t use it this yr… Wishing I did but will nx yr for sure

  24. It’s beautiful!!

  25. We are LOVING the printable ornaments this year!!! No fuss, high content! :) I promised the boys though that we would do the crafts in two years when their baby sister will be old enough for it!

  26. I am not doing it this year with my son, he is too young. But I am getting things ready now (yeah sales) for next year.

  27. Love the water color look!

  28. Lovely song and print.

  29. Jill Tadros says:

    It’s wonderful to have them notice things I had taken for granted or completely forgotten. They see it all anew and it makes it that much more special for me and my husband.

  30. What fun paintings!

  31. I am having fun doing the projects with my kids! Thank-you!!!

  32. Just heard of Truth in Tinsel today from the Modest Mom blog… My little guy isn’t quite 5 mo old yet-we’re reading the Christmas story but that’s about the only involvement he cares about. Great idea for next year, tho!
    Love the beautiful print! Would love to win one- we try to decorate only with things relative to the real meaning of Christmas, hate putting up snowmen and santas. :)

  33. Truth in the tinsel has been a great tool to help us with our little ones this time of year. There are SO many holiday websites but this resource really encourages them to focus on why we are celebrating.

  34. I just found Truth in Tinsel the other day via Whole New Mom and purchased it yesterday. However we’re in the middle of our own Advent Tree so we’re saving it for next year.

  35. We’ve loved spreading the word about Truth in the Tinsel this year.

  36. We are really enjoying the readings and craft. I love that we can spend a lot or a little time on the craft, but that it’s all related to the reading and discussion. I also really like that some readings are repeated. It is reinforcing the significance of Christ’s birth to my little guy, a little at a time. Thanks for creating and sharing this wonderful resource.

  37. Awesome print!

  38. Jen Pighini says:

    I just love these prints! I love Christmas carols and these prints are just beautiful.

  39. We are LOVING our truth in the tinsel time! I have really liked reading the scriptures specifically focusing on one aspect at a time… so often we just hear the story read altogether, but with the daily readings as clues, I am getting as much (if not more) out of it as my daughter! :)

  40. This is my first year to be doing TITT. My girls are 3 and 5. They are so excited each day to see what the clue is and do the craft.

  41. Beautiful words, beautiful print!

  42. I did Titt last year w my 3 kids–i have a newborn so am trying something else (easier? ) but my kids miss the crafts of Titt! but i love that they remember things–like zechariah’s bubble mouth! :)

  43. Alisa Downey says:

    Love it!!

  44. We are loving The Truth in Tinsel. My 11, 3 and 1 year old are all enjoying it! Annie Barnett’s illustrations are stunning. What a wonderful giveaway!

  45. Love this! Our 2nd year using the Truth in the Tinsel and while we have change up a few things, we love it! My boys 8 and 6 are really into it!

  46. Amanda, I just love Truth in Tinsel and the heart behind it. Such a joy to partner with you in this small way! {And I’m hushed with thanks by these sweet comments about the prints – thank you, friends!}

    • Pablo — DO you REALLY want to go there with the scientific knglwedoe of Thomas Aquinas? He also thought that a soul wasn’t present in a fetus until “quickening.” i.e. the baby could be felt to be moving in the womb. Thomas Aquinas knew as much of fetal development and women’s anatomy as the average retarded 7 year old knows today. No offense to retarded 7 year olds — but they couldn’t possibly know then what we know now. [PS - the earth revolves around our sun too.]There’s “tradition” with a small “t” and this is one of them about Him magically passing through her stomach or whatever. If that was going to happen the Holy Spirit may as well have zapped the Infant down to earth instead of making Mary go through 9 months of labor. HE WAS LIKE US IN ALL THINGS but sin and the way He was conceived. I rather suspect if Jesus was born in any way other than through the normal birth canal it would have been mentioned. If her becoming pregnant via the Holy Spirit was mentioned – one would think this amazing phenomenon would also have been mentioned. The thought that lack of hymen automatically makes someone a non-version is peasant thinking – or sheer ignorance. Thomas had an excuse. I bet Jesus had to go to the bathroom too and had night emissions like all men.

  47. I’d love to see a print based on O Holy Night.

  48. We are having fun again this year with Truth in the Tinsel. :) We figured out how to do the pillow right this year! I couldn’t figure out the obvious, but my husband did. ;)

  49. I still haven’t read this to my little girl, but we plan to before Christmas

  50. Beautiful paintings. I need to read that book by Bodie Thoene! From day 1 we have been memorizing Is 9:6. Super cute to hear my three year old belt out the names of God!

  51. Her work is so simple and beautiful. We are enjoying our journey through Truth in the Tinsel. My girls really like to make up hand or body motions for each clue and then do them as we read the daily reading.

  52. What a beautiful print and Christmas song!

  53. I was looking for a brief description of what Truth in the Tinsel actually IS. I couldn’t find it on your blog but did on another blog. Just a thought — you might want to have a description of what it is in an easy to find place on your blog for people like me who are interested in this.

  54. Thanks for introducing this artist with such beautiful, fun prints!

  55. Truth in the Tinsel is going so well! My son can’t wait to see what we’re going to make and read each morning. It’s been such a sweet time of preparing our hearts to celebrate the best GIFT ever given!

  56. To be honest…I had never really heard of Advent until last year here in the blog-o-sphere, but with us preparing to be foster parents, I find I am trying to soak up things from parents across the web.

  57. LOVE!

  58. This is beautiful!!

  59. I love this carol and great writing. This picture is beautiful and I would love to have it hanging in my house!!

  60. We plan on doing the crafts next Christmas. But the love the ideas. When I ask my 3 year old.. Why do we celebrate Christmas? She says, Jesus!
    If I don’t teach her about the meaning of Christmas, the world will.

  61. Mercedes Kosbab says:

    Second year of Truth in the Tinsel and the kids are still in love with it. It’s their favorite part of the Christmas experience, outside of shopping for children who wouldn’t otherwise have a Christmas.

    The writing and picture are beautiful. Would love to have it in our home.

  62. We are loving Truth in the Tinsel. THis is our first year and I am loving how much my kids are learning (and that I’m right there watching it all!). This is print is beautiful and reminds us all why we are doing this.

  63. We are really enjoying Truth in the Tinsel at our house. I cut out a felt Christmas tree (child-sized) and put it on the wall. All the ornaments the kid are making are going on that tree. We are doing the paper ornaments. I am learning things I never knew through this study. Thanks so much!

  64. This is beautiful!

  65. Beautiful! Hope to start this next Christmas when my daughter will be almost 2. :)

  66. I am LOVING Truth in the Tinsel with my three year old!

  67. We love the Truth In the Tinsel activities and the time spent together with our children remembering the true reason for the season! Thank you for wonderful , enduring memories!

  68. Great painting to keep our focus on Jesus this season

  69. What a beautiful piece! Would love to have one.
    And, I’m also so thankful for Truth in the Tinsel – we are enjoying it so much this season!

    • well that’s just about the sweetest pasoporl story i’ve heard in a long, long time. that Cam sounds like a very nice young mad and thoughtful as well. Sounds like he loves your daughter a whole lot and judging by everyone’s smiles, a lot of happiness awaiting their future. congratulations to the mother and father of the bride and best of luck with all the upcoming wedding plans. TFS!

    • This is a really intelligent way to answer the question.

  70. So cute! I would love one!

  71. I love everything you have done! Thank you so much for making it easy to bring Christ into Christmas… the way it should be!

  72. This is one of my favorite Christmas carols!

  73. We are a couple of days behind but all 3 of my kids love it!

  74. Love that print!!

  75. I just discovered your blog and website this morning! so excited to learn more and start following the blog!!! =)
    Love the print too!!!

  76. We have had so much fun with Truth in the Tinsel. My one year old and my five year olds all love it.

  77. Karen Craxton says:

    These are beautiful! To keep for myself or give as a gift?!?!?!

  78. What beautiful art! Thanks for introducing her to us, Amanda. :D

  79. Beautiful! I’m beyond on all of my Truth in the Tinsel advent activities….I’m embarrassed to admit it but it’s true!

  80. Crystal Hurst says:

    I have just learned of the Truth in the Tinsel. I am thrilled to start it with my girls!

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