Bethlehem or Bedlam?

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, 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. Micah 5:2

“O Little Town of Bethlehem” lyrics were written by one of the greatest American preachers of the 19th century. Phillips Brooks had visited the Holy Land near Christmas, and worshipped at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. The vivid memory of his visit to the Holy Land inspired him to write the words we sing today:

O little town of Bethlehem,

How still we see thee lie!

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep

The silent stars go by;

Yet in the dark streets shineth

The everlasting Light;

The hopes and fears of all the years

Are met in thee tonight.

If you were to go to London, England, you could travel to a hospital called “The Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem.” It’s the oldest institution for the care and confinement of the mentally ill in England. It was started in the year 1247, and a couple of centuries later, it became exclusively a mental hospital. 

It's a terrible thing to think about, but in those days, especially in the 18th century, people from London would travel to the Bethlehem Hospital just to go and watch the patients in the insane asylum. 

At first, it was called "Bethlehem Hospital."  And then they shortened it to "Bethlem Hospital."  And then the name "Bethlem" was corrupted until the people of London started calling it "Bedlam Hospital."  For entertainment, people would come to Bedlam and view the inmates. “Bedlam” became a synonym for insanity, confusion, uproar, and chaos.

Bethlehem, that peaceful little town of Christ’s birth, becomes, with Christ left out, nothing but bedlam.

Where are you right now? Is your life bedlam or Bethlehem?  You see, it's really the same place.

When Jesus Christ is in your life, it'll be Bethlehem. It will be peace. It will be joy. It will be hope. 

But when Jesus Christ is not in your life, bedlam: chaos, confusion, sorrow, no peace. 

God will take you right where you are and transform your life through His Son, Jesus.

Have a great day and keep moving forward!