To Coin the Phrase – Part 2 – Bethlehem

Something Far Better than Flowers Bread is Here!
To Coin the Phrase is a series I’ll be sharing for the next 2 Thursdays. If you missed the first installment last week about “Immanuel” you can catch up here.
In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, here stood Central High School, in the heart of the blistering hot Deep South, without any air conditioning. Not that the AC was non-functioning, mind you, it just didn’t exist. To make matters worse, I’d been called “chicken legs George” in the 8th grade, thereby refusing to wear shorts the next four years; only warm blue jeans could conceal my chicken legs until graduation. To say the class was warm, hot, and unbearable should resonate.
There was, however, one silver lining for always having the school Even the slightest NE wind would waft the smell of fresh bread our way. At the very least, it gave us something to look forward to once the 3:15 bell rang to end the school day.
According to Isaiah, the world’s Messiah was to be thrust into the hot, dry, warm, and dreary landscape of the Middle East at a precise moment, what the prophets deemed the fullness of time. With the appearance of Christ, literally epiphany in Greek, the refreshment He would give to hungry multitudes far-exceeded anything this world could provide, whether a local bread company or otherwise.
As to the place God chose to premier the glorious birth of His Son, I find it extra special He chose a city synonymous with bread. If you were to connect the two Hebrew words Bet, which means house, and lehem, which is bread, you’d get Bethlehem. That means Jesus, the Bread of Life, was born in Bethlehem, the House of Bread.

For most people reading this, fresh bread is a nice option at almost every meal. You may decide not to partake, but it is available. For 1st Century Israelites, having daily food was never a foregone conclusion, much less being able to pick and choose whatever suited your taste. Yes, bread was staple, but more often than not, it was the staple, meaning there was nothing else to eat. Back then, to have bread was to have life.

 So, when Christ’s original audience heard Him exclaim, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats from this bread, he will live forever.” (Jn. 6:51), He offered to satiate the innermost hunger of their souls. Not dissimilar to the word picture described above, but with an incredible spiritual component added for both this life and the life to come.

Sadly, receptivity to that same offering is going largely unrealized today. People appear to choose consumerism, commercialism, and materialism for their daily bread instead.

 What’s needed as we enter deeper into the 2021 Christmas Season, is for you to live your life as one beggar telling other beggars where to come and find food; not that “which perishes, but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” (Jn. 6:27) Because as many as received Him can attest, Something Far, Far Better than Flowers Bread is Here!

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