Bethlehem, Pa., obviously was named for Bethlehem in Judea, but how did it happen? Some Moravians, led by David Nitschmann and Nicolaus Zinzendorf, settled the area in Pennsylvania for the purpose of evangelizing Native Americans and German immigrants. They founded the town officially on Christmas Eve 1741. Zinzendorf reportedly said, “Brothers, how more fittingly could we call our new home than to name it in honor of the spot where the event we now commemorate took place. We will call this place Bethlehem.”

Through the years, Bethlehem has celebrated this connection with many lights and enjoyable festivals. They even erected a star that can be seen 20 miles away. What happened in Bethlehem of Judea really has changed us all, not just the residents of the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania.


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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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