Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 343: Today, I am grateful the little town of Bethlehem.
I grew up in a small town (okay, 3 miles west of a small town), near a big city, Chicago.
Bethlehem was a small town just 5.52 miles from the big city, Jerusalem.
Travel modes and time for travel are certainly different, but people were probably still very similar. They cared about their families. Worked hard to provide. Grew frustrated when things didn't go quite right. Learned the life skill of adjusting to a plot twist in life.
Bethlehem was small town. When a man and his ridiculously pregnant wife arrived at the door of your inn, how could you not offer help. I suspect he had a wife. He found room in the stable. Cozy and warm, but not a King's quarters.
Bethlehem means "House of Bread". Bread was an important part of daily living. It held history and mystery as the people would never forget the manna bread God provided daily to Moses ant the Israelite in the desert. Jesus came to be our Bread of Life. Our daily "enough" when things got tough... and he is. I've tasted trials, and he never, ever has failed to be enough.
In communion, the bread represents Christ's body, given in love for the purpose of redemption.
In Bethlehem... the house of bread... the Messiah made his humble God-Man appearance. I believe this with all my heart that it is true and I know he will come again as promised. He whispers, he winks and he struts... but he never fails.
Sometimes, I sit back and think that such faith must seem crazy. Still, it seems more absurd that the events could come together by accident. Old Testament prophecy fullfilled. New testament living the result, for those who take the leap of faith.
Today, we still need our daily bread. We still need the Bread of Life. I feel a little sentimental as I look at my Nativity and remember the sweetness of the birth. The innocence of Mary and the solid, love and comfort Joseph provided to her is a part of the story. Real people. Not holy people. Yet, they would welcome and care for the child concieved by the Holy Spirit. They would be the first to greet the Messiah. "God with us" had arrived in humble little Bethlehem. Oh what a night!
Today, I am grateful the little town of Bethlehem