"I Almost Missed A Christmas Miracle"
 
Bethlehem, 2000 - The excitement was building. We were standing in the Shepherd's Fields just outside of Bethlehem. We were ready to go into the Shepherd's Caves and sing Christmas Carols.  Some members of the tour group had done it with me on previous trips. For others, it was their first time - but everyone was excited. Bethlehem... Christmas Carols... Shepherd's Caves... Who wouldn't be excited?
 
We had always done it. We had always sung carols in these Shepherd's caves - Because once you did, you were never the same. So, I planned it so that everyone could experience it. My plans were about to be fulfilled. We would sing Christmas carols inside the Shepherd's Caves in the hills of Bethlehem.
 
There was a problem. It was crowded. The year 2000 had bought more groups than ever to Israel.  The Shepherd's Caves were full!  We waited... and waited... No groups were leaving the caves. Our time was growing short. We were about to miss out on our chance.
 
I was disappointed. I knew what a blessing our group was about to miss. I expressed my disappointment to God. "God, we've always sung in the caves. No one is ever the same after they do! We have to do it, Lord. We've always done it that way. If we don't, our group will miss out on the blessing of Bethlehem. Can't you work it out to open one of the caves for us?"
 
None of the other groups left the caves. We didn't get to sing carols in the Shepherd's Caves.  Disappointed, I led the group to the top of the hill - to a small chapel called "The Chapel of the Angels". We would sing there - but I knew it wouldn't been the same. It couldn't be, because we had always done it only one way.
 
Once inside the "Chapel of the Angels", we started singing carols. Most of the group had tears in their eyes as we sang "Silent Night". For them, Christmas already had a new meaning.
 
A MIRACLE - Then, it happened. A group from Germany entered the chapel.  While we were singing "Silent Night" in English, they started singing it in German. Two other groups entered as well. There were now four groups singing Christmas Carols. Every time I started our group in a song, we were joined by an "International Choir" singing in German, French and Spanish!!!  There was not a dry eye in the chapel. Everyone called it their own "Christmas" miracle.
 
I almost missed out on that "Christmas Miracle"  Me, the "spiritual leader" of the group. Why?  Because I was so intent on doing it the way we'd always done it. If we didn't follow the same traditions of Bethlehem that we'd always followed, I just knew that we wouldn't be blessed.
 
What about you? Does God have a special blessing or a miracle for you this Christmas? If you're so intent on making sure that you follow the same traditions, that you do exactly the same things that you always do each Christmas, you may miss out on a special blessing or a Christmas miracle.
 
Two thousand years ago, the people of Bethlehem were doing things the way they'd always done them. People were working, shopping, visiting and worshipping. Due to the census, extended families from far-away places had returned home and were visiting with their friends and families - swapping gifts and memories. In the midst of their traditional way of doing things, God performed the greatest miracle of all - the birth of his Son, Jesus Christ.
 
With the exception of some shepherds, the introduction of God's Son almost went unnoticed. Don't miss out on a miracle this Christmas just because "We've never done it that way before".
 
David Langerfeld
The Daily Encourager
Copyright (c)2000.
 
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