Luke 2: 4-7, NIV
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Looks a little different when you see animals feeding from a trough like the one pictured above and you remember the Son of God being laid in a similar place, doesn't it? There is not one among us that would envision giving birth in a barn and having our newborn swaddled and placed in a feeding trough. We find it impossible not to have access to a sterile environment with doctors and nurses coming in and out the delivery room wearing fresh gowns, masks, gloves and handing sterilized equipment.
But our Lord left his home in glory and came to earth wearing human skin and taking on the form of a servant from the onset of his ministry. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords didn't have a castle, nor did he have an entire staff of medical personnel waiting to deliver him. Oh, but the significance of every piece of the Christmas story told countless times since its inception.
The most important piece of this story is the fact that the Bread of Heaven, Jesus Christ, was born in the town of Bethlehem called the House of Bread and was laid in a feeding trough, a manger, where animals came to feed. The Bread of Heaven illustrated moments after his physical birth that he came so that we might be fed spiritually. All we need to do is come to the table, the trough (if you will), and partake in the only One who has the power to save our souls from eternal damnation. His whole purpose in coming was to teach us about His Father and to become the sinless, perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world.
But there's more....the emphasis of bread. We know that bread has properties that our bodies need for nourishment and growth. In fact, I would dare say every family has at least some type of bread within their homes; bread for sandwiches, rolls for dinner, biscuits for breakfast, cinnamon buns, and on the list could go.
When we go into a restaurant, what is usually one of the first things that is placed on our table as we await the waitress or waiter with the menus? Bread. Bread represents generosity and is a sign of welcome. And who can resist that warm bread with butter when it comes to the table? Don't we sometimes ask for it when it isn't brought out immediately? And that aroma...no wonder we're told when we want to sell our homes and potential buyers and coming to place a loaf of bread to bake in the oven! It is welcoming and fills people with visions of a warm inviting home.
Why is that? Because Bread of Heaven relates many examples in scripture of the emphasis of its importance. Abraham, told Sarah when three visitors came to share the news Sarah would give birth to the promised heir, to get the finest flour and bake bread for their visitors. It was an extension of generosity and a spirit of welcome. Remember the manna (bread) God provided daily through the forty years of wandering by the Israelites? Or the lunch of fish and bread the young boy offered when the crowd of 5,000 men, not including women and children, needed to eat? Jesus not only fed their spiritual bodies through his teachings that day, but he met their physical need.
And we must not forget the words of the The Lord's Prayer, "give us this day our daily bread" or the words spoken during the Last Supper by Jesus, "this (bread) is my body broken for you" before he was crucified.
Bread, such a wonderful reminder today....found within our homes on a daily basis, spoken of in our prayers and a blessing over our meals, points us to the Savior of the World, the Bread of Life....the One who was laid in a manger...a feeding trough to foreshadow the feast he continues to prepare for all those who will come to the table free of charge....and the benefit? Eternal life.
So this week, as you gather with your family, or perhaps for the first time without a family gathering due to the COVID situation, take bread you have in your home and lift it high and give thanks to the Bread of Heaven, the Bread of Life for sustaining our physical bodies and nourishing our spiritual souls.
Regardless of what is happening around us...God hasn't lost sight of us. His Son is alive and well and is waiting to inhabit our hearts, our minds, our thoughts and every facet of our being. Let's make 2021 a year to remember. May God break out a revival of such great proportions the rocks cry out! May no one go hungry for the Bread of Life multiples and never runs dry!
Hallelujah, Christ has come!
Gary & Cookie White
Judith "Cookie" White is the founder of The Sounding Board Ministry. She is the author of two devotional books which are available on this site.