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Home for the Holidays - Part 16

A House of Homonyms

If you joined us last week, you know we talked about the Roman Empire. If you didn't, be sure to catch that one after this as it will give more color to today's post.

If you ever think Christmas is the same story every year, one you've already heard and know, oh remind your heart, the richness of the Bible. Truth is, I almost didn't share this Home for the Holidays series. For one, the busyness of life felt overwhelming and I felt I may be forcing something God had not energized me for. But then, I woke up one Saturday morning when I expected to sleep in until the "farm alarm" - our rooster, Hey Hey - woke me up, but instead, I arose well before the sun energized to write.

And wouldn't you know, God had a surprise in store for me. He showed me He can reveal immense truth to me through five words of scripture I've read countless times. I'm sharing today in case it's the same for you, or if you find yourself overwhelmed by busyness and a little "Christmas story, okay got that" mentality. It's not fun to admit but we're human, and God's grace carries us to new understanding and reverence and awe for His Word.

So, shall we begin?

Just five words recorded in the second chapter of Matthew,

Jesus was born in Bethlehem... - Matthew 2:1

I know what you might be thinking... Okay..? Yes, I know this. Got it.

And that's my point. Even the most fundamental pieces of the story have immense depth if we'll just look between the layers.

Like the layers of my Grandma's Chocolate Christmas Dessert, the layers are what make it so rich!

Okay, so let's break this down together one layer at a time:

In the Old Testament, the prophet Micah prophesied Bethlehem to be the birthplace of the Messiah about 800 years before Christ came:

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. - Micah 5:2

If we look at the original language the Bible was written in (Hebrew and Greek), we see the Hebrew word "Beth" means "house" and "lehem" means "bread." Bethlehem is the "House of Bread" what?

With Bethlehem being chosen as Jesus' birthplace, we understand why He was born.

Jesus is the living Bread. He came so we would have life! We don't live by natural bread and food alone but “by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”! (Deut. 8:3)

Indeed, our bodies need sustenance and we grow closer to God as we fellowship with other believers as the early Christians did recorded in Acts 2:42, "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

The significance of Bethlehem does not stop there.

You know how in English we have homonyms - words with multiple meanings? Like "bark" can refer to the sound a dog makes or the outside layer of a tree or even chocolate used for baking? Well, the Hebrew language had words like this too, and "lehem" was one of them.

"Lehem" also means "fighters."

Bethlehem was the "house of bread" - which helps us understand why Jesus was born - and also the "house of fighters" - which helps us understand what He came to do. Jesus came to fight and take victory over the darkness we could not. Jesus came to defeat sin and death once and for all.

It's also interesting to note Bethlehem is known as "the city of David," and David was one of the greatest fighters of all time. He defeated the great enemy Goliath.

This is why many were hesitant and resistant to accept Jesus as the Messiah. I mean, think about it. For nearly a thousand years, their family members have told them about the prophecy of Micah and how Jesus will be born in Bethlehem, the city of David, the house of fighters. Who were the people expecting? A soldier! A fighter! Someone who will defeat the Romans and free them from the oppression they were under.

What they didn't realize was He was here to defeat their greatest enemy, sin and death. On the cross, we see Christ, the one born in the city of David, as the better David, the fighter who defeated the "Goliath" of our souls and set us free to live with Him and the Father forever!

What a mighty God we serve!

My heart can't help but break out in song.

What a mighty God we serve!

What a mighty God we serve!

Angels bow before Him,

Heaven and earth adore Him

What a mighty God we serve!

Jesus was born in Bethlehem... - Matthew 2:1

Five words which tell us why He came and what He came to do. The Bible is rich! The story of Christmas becomes richer with each year we celebrate and remember the gift of a Father's Son for us - the bread we need and the fighter we could never be. What a mighty God we serve!

May we find strength for today's battles knowing Christ has given us victory over our greatest enemy. May we find joy in the Word of God as we dive in deep and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to us new layers of meaning. May peace be our sweetest reward as we spend time with God today and may we receive rest as we press against the busyness for time hidden away with God.

The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.

I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!

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