Bethlehem

Certain locations on earth seem to have the capacity to connect earth and heaven and are known as “thin places,” where the veil between life and life beyond death seems to be thinner.

The concept of “thin places” leads me, and I believe most Christians, to Bethlehem. The “little town” is etched into our consciousness via Luke 2.1-20, Christmas carols and Christmas cards and serves as a geographic reminder of the “primary and compelling message of Christianity,” the Incarnation, which Richard Rohr calls “the synthesis of matter and spirit.”

That’s a pretty heavy responsibility for one little town, where “the word became flesh and lived among us … full of grace and truth.” The good news for Bethlehem and for all of us is that it is not merely a pilgrim destination or an iconic holy place. Bethlehem, representing the mystery of Christmas Eve, points to a larger reality: All that is Holy is available to us right where we are, right nowand in every place and every moment.

O Holy Night, by the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra with Kristin Chenoweth,
at Temple Square, from PBS

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