It is Christmas Eve.  As my thoughts turn toward Bethlehem and the world-changing event that took place there so many years ago, I am struck by the fact that the name of Jesus’ birthplace contains a profound play on words.  In Hebrew Bethlehem is Beth Lechem, which means “house of bread.”  Think of it: the Bread of Life was given to a race starving for spiritual reality in a place called “house of bread!”  With God, there are no coincidences.

Cave in Bethlehem, like the one where Jesus was born


Bethlehem, Beth Lechem, House of Bread:

Your white stones waited silent in the sun

For long years (long as people feel them run).

The prophets wrote no more; the Rabbis read

The old words and unraveled every thread

And found your secret out: you were the one.

And when the time came and the thing was done,

They spent the night at home asleep in bed.


Oh, they could put their fingers on the pages

That told the old fox Herod it was you.

But those uncircumcised, stargazing sages

Came first, and shepherds, wet with evening dew,

Had long since been there, and all had been fed

In Bethlehem, Beth Lechem, House of Bread.

Shepherd’s Field, looking from Bethlehem toward Jerusalem

For more poetry like this, go to and order STARS THROUGH THE CLOUDS: THE COLLECTED POETRY OF DONALD T. WILLIAMS (Lynchburg: Lantern Hollow Press, 2011).  While you are there check out Dr. Williams’ other Land\tern Hollow books: REFLECTIONS FROM PLATO’S CAVE: ESSAYS IN EVANGELICAL PHILOSOPHY and INKLINGS OF REALITY: ESSAYS TOWARD A CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY OF LETTERS, 2nd edition, revised and expanded.  All are $15.00 + shipping.


About gandalf30598

Theologian, philosopher, poet, and critic; minister of the Gospel who makes his living by teaching medieval and renaissance literature; dual citizen of Narnia and Middle Earth.

Posted on December 24, 2012, in Christianity, Donald Williams, Theology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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