The Nativity in Bethlehem
The Nativity in Bethlehem.
Does is have a special meaning that Christ was born in Bethlehem?
Bethlehem is about 10km away from Jerusalem, and is known for its green pastures, where the sheep were kept to be later offered to the temple as animal sacrifices for the sins of the people.
“Laham” means bread in Aramaic, and meat for the Arabs and was later the Canaanite god of fertility and harvest. Bethlehem means the House of Bread. The word originally indicates food.
Many linguists say that the difference of meaning in languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic) is linked to the essential food of peoples. Those who ate wheat named their god after bread, while those who ate meat as main food used the word for that. Bethlehem has another name: Ephrata, an old designation meaning “fertility”.
We read in the book of Prophet Micah ((751-693 BC): “And you, Bethlehem Ephratah, being least among the thousands of Judah, out of you He shall come forth to Me to become One ruling in Israel; and His goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity” (Mica 5:2).
This prophecy is about the place where Christ is to be born. It had been known that Christ comes from Bethlehem, the town of David, because He is the Son of David according to the human lineage.
The text adds that Bethlehem is a small town among the clans of Judah. From small things come great things, from the humble comes the lofty. Not only was Christ born in a manger, but also in a town described as least.
Later, we witness the realization of Mary’s Magnificat: “He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly” (Luke 1:52). Tyrant King Herod will fall down from his throne and the real king that fulfils the Kingdom of Heaven on earth by his sovereignty and dominion in and over the human souls of goodwill.