Location, Location, Location…
O little town of Dillon…we are so blessed to celebrate the first Advent in these beautiful mountains! Few small towns in the world have birthed as many fascinating and important people as the original location of Advent, the little town of Bethlehem.
Many events in its history were terrible and sad. Jacob buried his wife Rachel nearby after she died giving birth to their last son Benjamin (Gen 35:16-19). The book of Judges closes with the horrible civil war against the tribe of Benjamin triggered by the mistreatment of a Levite and concubine from Bethlehem (Judg 19-21). The next book in the OT, Ruth, recounts the devastating famine in Bethlehem that sent Elimilek and Naomi to Moab as refugees (Ru 1:1-2).
The redemption of Bethlehem was set in motion by the beautiful story of Boaz and Ruth (Ru 2), perhaps the most locationally tied of all the OT to the birth story of Jesus. Jesse, the father of the great king David (1 Sam 16:1), was from the family of Boaz (Mt 1:5). Their descendants and others from the town survived the Babylonian sojourn and helped rebuild Jerusalem (Ez 2:2, 21-35, Neh 7:26-38, & Mt 1:12). During the time of Hezekiah, a prophet prophesied future deliverance and hope to come from Bethlehem as it had in the time of David (Mic 5). Both Matthew (Mt 2:5-6 via the words of the magi!) and John (Jn 7:40-43 via the words of crowd members at the Temple!) connected this prophecy to Jesus’ birth.
We may despair at times for our little town in the Colorado high country, but take hope and be hope! Through our individual lives and our congregated lives as DCC, we can impact those nearest us with grace, courage, and love to become another birthplace of redemption!
Mark Hill, pastor