How far is it to Bethlehem?

 

Across a thousand years, God makes ready for bringing forth his Son:

A line of patriarchs to forge a bond, God and human, in this together;

A prophet here, a prophet there, voicing promises and warnings;

A king to carry the key, and a tree with deep roots;

All are now in place.

 

How far is it to Bethlehem?

 

Across a chasm, dividing human and divine.

Who can bridge the gap?

How can ordinary objects be infused with God?

How can the beams of glory transform ash and dust and earth?

But all is now in place.

 

How far is it to Bethlehem?

 

The distance of a young girl saying “Yes”.

It took an angel, extraordinary apparition,

very definitely not of this world,

a convincing sign from God, inviting …

Her word conceived the Word in place, in her womb.

 

How far is it to Bethlehem?

 

For the couple from Nazareth, the journey is longer now

than it has ever been.  She walks slowly, heavy with child. 

Step by step, anticipating rest and sleep.

Such a disappointment to find the town bustling

With no place in the inn.

 

How far is it to Bethlehem?

 

From the inside to the outside, from the warm safe womb

to a cold and bitter world.  Each birth mysterious, but this

even more so, a baby created out of nothing by the word of God

to be born here, not some grand and fancy place, but in a cave out the back.

This is God’s place.

 

How far is it to Bethlehem?

 

For the shepherds on the hills, it’s not so far,

but the social distance is immense.  Shepherds are necessary but not clean. 

But it is they who catch the angels at their play,

singing and dancing in the heavens.

And they go to find the place.

 

How far is it to Bethlehem?

 

The wall is in the way, and you have to go the long way round.

The little town is squeezed, oppressed.

Christian Palestinians struggle to maintain the faith.

Little hope here where Hope was born.

Little light, where Light sprang into place.

 

How far is it to Bethlehem?

 

You choose the time, the place, to find your way.

Reach from the depth of your own heart and touch Eternity. 

Here God has touched the earth with love and reaches out to you.

The house of bread will feed your soul.

Anytime.  Anyplace.

(c) Meg Gilley

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