When you post pictures of Bethlehem events on Instagram use the hashtag #blcfamilyaloha
Please join us for one, some, or all of our special Christmas Events as we prepare for the coming of Jesus!
Luke is almost tight-lipped about it. Like a physician sworn to confidentiality, Luke gives us so little information about Jesus’ birth. He tells us why Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem. He tells us the “when” in terms of Mary’s pregnancy—“while they were there, the time came….” There has been a need on our part to come up with the rest of the story. Luke tells us the highpoint of the story is that Jesus was born into our dusty and “dust-level” world to redeem us whose hope had turned to dust because of sin and death.
We want to know more. In many cases, what we think we know has become so important—traditions do that, become so very important. One of those traditions is based upon an interesting choice of words that the translators of the King James Version chose to explain the Greek word for “a space for guests.” By 1611, a space for guests was an inn. So, instead of translating Luke’s words as “because the space for guests was already crowded,” the translators said, “because there was no room in the inn.” So, the tradition of stressed or mean inn-keepers who turned away a woman in labor was born.
“…a family opened their home to guests who needed a place to stay.”
The typical First Century Judean peasant home was mostly a large room with an elevated portion of the floor where the family would sleep on their mats. This part was elevated because the rest of the room was where the cooking happened and the animals were kept. Often, archaeologists tell us, a home would have a guest room. Hospitality is still a major goal in Middle Eastern society. Some scholars suggest that the manger into which Jesus was laid, wrapped in swaddling clothes, was in that lower level of the main room of a house, because the guest room was already crowded with other guests. Not everyone is agreed on this understanding of Luke’s telling of the story. You can keep the stable in your mind’s eye, if you’d like. (Personally, this explanation works for me, because it explains Matthew’s telling that the magi from the East came to a house.
I share this telling of the story because in it a family opened their home to guests who needed a place to stay. This is the main thought behind Family Promise—a service project that our Service Team has been exploring. The family of God at Bethlehem would open our “home” to guests, who need a place to stay for a week (at night). The Service Team presented this opportunity to serve our neighbors to the congregation back in October and a number of people expressed their interest and volunteered to play some role in being hospitable to families who are part of Family Promise. A steering committee has been formed to plan how we can move forward and we are hoping to open our “home” to strangers this Spring. There will be more information coming in January. If you have questions, talk with a member of the Service Team or me. In a small way, then, the story of Jesus’ coming continues as we follow the example of that un-named family who made room for guests.
Blessed Christmas and continued joy in the journey,
Family Promise is a Homeless Program. The Mission of Family Promise is to “End Homeless – One Family at a Time.” We do this by strengthening the lives of the people we serve and build a strong community to support their ongoing success. Our Program provides temporary shelter, case management (coaching) resources, advocacy and referrals for homeless families with children that reside in our shelter program. We help to provide a community connection – a foundation for success – – that goes with them when they leave our program – by ending Homelessness.
Click here to visit their website
Imagine what the world would look like if every Christian were maximally utilized living out their faith by serving others….
“Love In the Name of Christ’s vision is to see Christian churches united in
purpose and fully engaged in actively living out their
faith by lovingly serving people in need in their communities.”
Our Vision is guided by the belief that Love In the Name of Christ is:
All that we do and say must honor and glorify our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that churches are called to live and labor in the love of the Creator by doing, sharing, and growing in His goodness as they endeavor to reveal and share the love of Christ to others in all aspects of their lives. (Romans 12:2)
An instrument of transformation:
The Scriptures urge us to not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but instead be vessels of God’s purpose on earth. Through the gifts given us, our actions, words and deeds become opportunities for ministry and leadership as God’s instruments through instruction, correction, and guidance. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 3:18)
Part of a global community:
We seek out and grow relationships with local churches and the larger community around the world. (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8)
Our vision is to see Christian churches in every community in this country and around the world united in the purpose of ministering the love of Christ to anyone in need in their area through the partnering strategy and model we call Love In the Name of Christ.
click here for Love INC’s website
Comforts of Home, a volunteer ministry of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, provides donated small home goods to neighbors in need, transition, or crisis. Our mission is to love others as Christ first loved us. We show God’s love by providing the comforts of home essentials to community members in need. Two Friday mornings a month for two hours, three volunteers assist up to six families in collecting items they need from our “shopping area” upstairs in the balcony. The volunteers also sort/shelve donations received. We are referred most of our clients from Love INC Hillsboro, but some are past clients, and some are referred to us by other churches/organizations/schools. Please contact Lesley Weichbrodt, Nan Dubberke, Marjorie Johnson, or any COH volunteers if you would like to volunteer or have questions.
We are always looking to restock our shelves!
We collect new, use-able/gently-used items similar to items found at retailers like Bed, Bath, and Beyond. No decorations or electronics please.
Items especially needed are:
We have donation receipts available.
*sheets are always needed and go very quickly