Blest “Bethlem” indeed! In all the spiritual topography of the race, no soil is more sacred, no locality more deeply loved. And none could have been more strangely, more variously appropriate for the birthplace of the Saviour of the world.

Whether it be the original name or a Jewish pun upon some older, pagan designation, Bethlehem—“House of Bread”—fitted well the favored village on a fertile hillside, its fields populous with rich flocks of sheep and goats, its lush valleys clothed with wheat and barley, its terraced slopes of almond and olive, fig and pomegranate, rising to the twin summits above the town. Sheltered among the trees were the famous vineyards that made Bethlehem’s wine more choice than Jerusalem’s, only five miles away. Her farmers had always been men of wealth (Ruth 2:1), and to this day “Beit Lahm” remains a “House of Meat.”

But man does not live by bread alone, nor must he labor only for the meat that perishes. Here, to Bethlehem, in the fullness of time and the hunger of the world, came he who was to be for all men the Bread of life, taking upon him, in innocence and beauty, that flesh which he was to give for the life of the world.

The Grave Of Rachel

And what stirring memories lingered in the atmosphere of the little town; what oft-repeated stories of excitement, tragedy, and triumph made up her history. Some were filled with the pathos of ancient sorrows. For here was shown, from earliest days, a weathered stone monument to a great love and a great loss.

Here Jacob’s beloved Rachel, for whom he served “seven years … and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her”—here Rachel died, giving birth to Benjamin, whom with her last cry she named “Son of my sorrow.” “She was buried on ...

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