House of the Bread of Life
Bethlehem means 'House of Bread' in Hebrew - and what better name for the city where one of history's first churches was built to mark the birthplace of Jesus (Luke 2:4-20)? For it is here that travelers ascending from the wilderness, memorably Ruth, ancestress of David and Jesus (Ruth 1:19; Matt. 1:5), would seek sustenance, protection and rest.
This is the place to remember the fulfillment of prophecy that brought this city to the world stage (Micah 5:2)A vast basilica now surrounds the humble cave where tradition says Jesus was born. Its long and complex history attests to the determination of Christians throughout the ages to strengthen their bond to this sacred ground. This is the place to remember the fulfillment of prophecy that brought this city to the world stage (Micah 5:2) and the strength of the matriarch Rachel, whose tomb lies on Bethlehem's outskirts.
To truly feel the power of the ancient landscape as you tour Bethlehem, travel from the 'House of Bread' eastward to the village called 'House of Stone'. There - in simple surroundings you can still see - where the shepherds heard the angels sing "Glory to God on the highest" (Luke 2:14) and from which King David emerged to greatness - you can find your own "Bethlehem of Judah" (1 Sam. 17:12).
Photo: Church of the Nativity