Bringing the Text to Life

Bethlehem's Two Roads Hebrews 10:5-10

As we blunder through the last few days of the Christmas maze; as we confront the possessiveness and possessedness of a culture awash in guns, glamour, gadgets and household gods, we must be reminded not to lose sight of Bethlehem. For our pilgrimage to this place changes our lives. The Magi "went home a different way." They could never go home the same way again after Bethlehem. Will this year''s Christmas journey to Bethlehem change the direction of your life as well?

This is the Sunday all Christians take a pilgrimage to Bethlehem. Why Bethlehem? It is an unlikely choice: a grubby little village overrun with transients and filled with inhabitants who looked upon their neighbors with suspicion and upon strangers with hatred - not to mention innkeepers who charged exorbitant rates. But we still go to Bethlehem, a nowhere place where a nobody known as Mary gave birth to a noisy child with a nothing name like Jesus.

Again, why Bethlehem? Because Bethlehem is the symbol of the lengths of God's love. The very word Bethlehem means "place of bread" in Hebrew, "house of meat" in Arabic. Situated in the middle of a dry and barren desert, Bethlehem was an oasis where figs, grain and olives were grown, surrounded by protecting sage brush and sand dunes. No wonder it was called "the place of bread." From it the most basic human needs were met. And from it would come the "Bread of Life" who would meet all human needs. This is why all Christians are called to...

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