Bethlehem: A Plain Bread Town

Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

A professional events coordinator would never have chosen Bethlehem for Christ’s birth. This photo is the town as it appears now. In the first century, it held little appeal, just a tiny town off the beaten track. Hardly fit for the birth of a king.

Royalty without overnight accommodations? A pink slip first thing Monday morning for the secretary in charge of hotel reservations.

First-time parents scrounging the streets of a no-account town for lodging, finally settling into the corner of a smelly stable. How inappropriate.

A planner with credentials would have contracted an army of cleaning specialists to disinfect, scrub and polish the most suitable building in the country for the birth of God’s Son – the temple, Jerusalem’s jewel. If not the temple, then another building in Jerusalem. Is it possible that Jerusalem, the royal city, the city of prophets and kings, could be overlooked?

Imagine the planning and ceremony if someone in-the-know had arranged the circumstances of Christ’s birth. Needle workers fashioning quilts of delicate down. Craftsmen designing Messiah’s gilded crib. The high priest supervising, clipboard in hand, noting the names of exceptional workers for an upcoming awards night.

Attention is usually reserved for cities large, lofty and beautiful, like Jerusalem. It takes a special eye to notice what isn’t flaunted. God has an eye for the unpretentious, the quiet and simple. He chose such a town for the birth of His son – that insignificant town whose name means, “house of bread,” plain, ordinary bread.

If the birth had to take place in Bethlehem, at least the finest building in the plain bread town should have been chosen. But even a homely inn was too deluxe for Him. He preferred a stable, a fitting birthplace for someone who would never care about keeping up appearances.

We can accept the plainness of our lives and the ordinary towns and villages we come from because someone whose affection isn’t swayed by glitter, fame, power or cash loves us.

Christ’s birth placed Bethlehem on the map. And His birth in our common hearts erases our insignificance.

God could have a chosen Jerusalem, the jewel. Instead, He chose the plain bread town because crowning the ordinary with His extraordinary presence has always been God’s way.

God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. I Corinthians 1:27


About rosemccormickbrandon

An award winning personal experience writer, Rose McCormick Brandon is a frequent contributor to faith magazines, devotionals and compilations, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Rose is the author of Promises of Home: Stories of Canada's British Home Children (2014). One Good Word Makes all the Difference (2013), He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me (2012) and Vanished: What Happened to My Son. She's a frequent contributor to The Testimony, Today's Pentecostal Evangel and other faith magazines in Canada, U.S. and Australia. Rose also writes about Canadian history, specifically the era of Child Immigration from Britain. Read her stories of child immigrants at:
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10 Responses to Bethlehem: A Plain Bread Town

  1. Rose I really do like the light you shine of Jesus’ birth. I’m savoring your words like the delicious smell of fresh baked bread. Thanks for your unique perspective and your lovely words. Blessings to you and yours.

  2. Margaret Gaunt says:

    Very beautifully said Rose …. hope you had a wonderful Christmas and all the best in the coming New Year.

    • Thank you Margaret – I don’t know if I told you that I changed the name of one of the girls in my novel – the one I’m painfully working on – to Isobel. I did this based on the photos of the little darling that you shared on my other blog, The Promise of Home.

  3. vanyieck says:

    Well said Rose. I’m so thankful for the Divine introduction he made so many years ago. I hope you and yours have a blessed Christmas.

  4. Joan says:

    Beautiful! And very timely, with many people focusing on making the perfect impression or getting the perfect status symbol. I’m actually really glad that royal event planners weren’t invited to plan Jesus’ reception into the world!
    Merry Christmas to you and to everyone who reads your blog. 🙂

  5. Bonnie Armstrong says:

    Beauifully written Rose, if only I didnt care about keeping up with appearances. Hallelujah what a Savior!!!

  6. Beautiful, rich thoughts of wisdom.

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