“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2
My mom gave me this clock. I love it because at the top of the hour, a Christmas carol chimes out. As a matter of fact, it just happened as I typed this sentence. The tune of O Come All Ye Faithful tickles my ear, and I have to smile because I believe God is near. I think He’s speaking to me.
I hum along to the tune of my clock, and I hear Him beckon.
O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye…
To where? To Bethlehem.
And so, God speaks. He bids me to begin my Christmas journey there. At Bethlehem.
There’s a reason God points me to Bethlehem. It has to do with something I learned about myself this past year. Something big. For I’ve come to realize when I feel empty inside, I try to fill the hole.
Oh, I have various methods. The most popular is shifting furniture. I become a little restless so I move a room around. It makes things shiny and new to me… at least for a little while.
Though we’ve lived in this house only two and a half years, I’ve changed my living room and my son’s room at least 8 times. My bedroom furniture has been rearranged about five times while the office furniture has been shifted about six. That’s just what I do. It fills me for a season…
Another thing I try is haircuts. Once upon a time, this was a monthly occurrence. Feeling blue, a haircut will do!! Miraculously, though, my hair was longer than it had ever been in my entire life a short year ago. I must have had a season of contentment. Alas, I began snipping again in the Spring and by July, I was cutting away chunks of hair every day.
The fruit of my labor and the work of my hands turned out to be tears. Sobs actually. As I stood in the chicken pen on a hot August day, I called my husband to give warning. I wanted him to know what he was coming home to as most of my hair was gone.
Yep, filling holes. It’s what we all do, I think. Just we each have individual methods. For me, it’s furniture moves and hair-do’s. And food. You know, the mindless kind of eating where hand moves to mouth before the previous bite’s even chewed.
That’s what I do. I stuff my mouth and stomach hoping to feel good. And yet, I don’t. Furniture and hair cuts and colors and sustenance just don’t work. They never fill an emptiness completely.
And so last night, after hours of busyness, a simple Christmas carol stood out to me. O, Come all Ye Faithfull pointed me to Bethlehem. And then, I remembered what it actually means…
House of Bread
And what, pray tell, could be more filling than a basket of bread?
Thus, to be completely satisfied this Christmas season, I find myself venturing out to my spiritual Bethlehem. That’s where God bids me to go.
John chapter 6 lights my path. For there was a crowd of hungry people. More than 5,000 souls longing to be fed. However, food was limited. But because Jesus was there, every mouth was filled. The physical needs were met.
After this miraculous occurrence, the crowds began to seek Jesus. I find His words to them interesting…
“I assure you: You are looking for Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled.” And then Jesus then warned them not to work for food that perishes but instead to work for food that lasts eternally.
The crowds persisted. They pressed in and questioned Him further. They wanted to perform the works of God like Jesus did. But He said that the work of God is this, to believe in the One He sent. And that’s when He said it…
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh. John 6:51
This Christmas season, God’s word guides my way. My goal becomes clear… Jesus. He is the One. The only One who can truly fill. Bread come down from heaven.
And where did the One make His first appearance but in a little town called Bethlehem. God’s gift of new life starts there. And it was no accident that Jesus first drew breath at the House of Bread. For God knew at the beginning of time that man cannot live on bread alone.
The loaves in which we fill are temporary. But Jesus, He’s everlasting. And in the fullness of time, Jesus brought God’s plan to completion. Utter perfection. And fulfillment.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:3
I know, I know. Reality is we have to eat. We have to work for our daily bread. But verily, verily I say unto you… the most essential work we can do on earth is to believe in the One He sent from heaven.
And then, we must feast on every word that comes from His mouth. That’s what ultimately sustains us. It’s what fills.
Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and broke it. He then gave it to His followers and said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Matthew 26:26
This year, I’m on a mission. For perhaps the very first time I’m seeking the true meaning of Christmas. And so, I venture to Bethlehem. It’s there, in my spiritual house of bread, that I’ll be filled.
Because shifting furniture, and haircuts, and food just won’t satisfy. Not for long. My menial methods of fulfillment are like a loaf of Wonder bread… temporary. Over time, it becomes stale and moldy.
But spiritual food lasts. It’s what my spirit craves. I need Jesus. The bread of life. And so I pray to God above. I say, Give me this day my daily bread.
I say it this holiday season because I know Christmas begins at Bethlehem. And I say it every day because I know my life depends on it.
My spirit lives because of the house of bread. Bethlehem.
Then they said, “Sir, give us this bread always!” John 6:34