On a hilly, winding road of adventurous curves of my Midwest state, I look across the manicured mountains and the sun is altering the colors. The trees line the ridge’s crest, a grandeur of stability, a misty shade of crimson. God, what an awesome sight! I close my eyes but for just a moment and suddenly I’m thinking back to the buggy days. Life’s pace was a whole lot different back then and these old roads were nothing but, well —- dirty.
You know, every couple of miles it seemed as though a church was erected…. not in any particular town, but just tucked in along the side of an old, dirt horse and buggy trail. As I’m regressing in thought, I see how loners, searching for the birth of the miracle child, traveled about in their own land. Hungry and tired, they too found comfort along the dusty roads. Like Bed and Breakfast Inns, churches, back then, welcomed those in need of shelter and warmth too. But this similarity goes far beyond bread and warmth.
I never gave it much thought, but the purpose of churches back then, was not just for believers but for a place to rest. Along the trails that led to those sacred cities, like the suburbs of today, were wayfaring stations, you might say. They combed the country. And then, like now, roads led to the center — the center of towns. Christianity grew as the word spread and farmers turned into followers, also looking for that miracle child.
Thousands came to welcome Him, bearing fruits and gifts to share. Churches heard of the wonderful word and welcomed all that traveled the dusty road. Jerusalem was the capitol of regimes…. some proclaimed, some denounced, but all those who came bearing faith in the name were welcomed. The bright star led the way to where He laid in the manger. The little town was kept a secret — “The House of Bread”, as it was referred to, built for those who traveled heavily laden…. those who came searching for His nourishment.
Now, two thousand seventeen years later, with all the clichés, you understand The House of Bread, in Hebrew, was Bethlehem. Today, we travel the backroads of life, realizing how important those little churches were…. not dilapidated like some houses but a sanctuary for all God’s children. And today, they remain standing.