Jesus was born in fulfillment of God’s promise to the people of Israel. They hoped for a king from the lineage of the greatest king of Israel–David. David was a shepherd, from the town of Bethlehem. Jesus was the same, and so much more. Beth-lehem means “house of bread” in Hebrew, and after Jesus was born there, he was placed in a manger–a trough where animals were fed. Jesus is the one who grew to feed and care for a hungry people. Jesus as savior restores a broken world to wholeness, gives sustanence, and brings the gift of peace–and we experience the mystery of all of that when we receive communion.
The precious child of God became a human being in a safe place warmed by the bodies and breath of animals, nestled in a bed softened by straw and watched over by loving parents. I pray that all children may be as blessed.