House of Bread

House of Bread

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered.
And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
-from the Gospel according to Luke 2:4-7 (RSV CE)

I. The Manger

Lo, Bethlehem in ancient tongue means ‘House of Bread’.
In David’s town, the kin of David ev’rywhere,
yet family would have no inn for Mary’s son–
to celebrate God’s angels gathered shepherds ’round.

Precisely as the hosts of angels had declared,
they found him lying where the animals are fed.

II. The Eucharist

Lo, Bethlehem in ancient tongue means ‘House of Bread’.
In David’s town, the Bread of Life is born for us,
the passion’s sacrifice to nourish lambs and sheep—
God-flesh to feast on ’til the coming of the end:

communion for consumption, broken, offered up,
incarnate Lord of lords, in David’s Bethlehem.