Mystic Mantra: Let's share our Christmas bread

Jesus works bread miracles during his lifetime, two of which are recorded in the gospels.

One Christmas Eve, standing outside a bakery, a tiny, starving beggar was eyeing the delicacies displayed: cakes, pastries, doughnuts and chocolates. No one noticed him but for the generous baker’s wife. Taking him home, she served him a delicious meal. Gorging on the food, the boy asked: “Are you God?” Tongue-in-cheek she replied: “Well, you can say I’m God’s child!” The boy concluded: “I knew you were related to God.”

Gandhiji wrote: “There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” At Christmas, Jesus comes as bread. He was born in Bethlehem, which literally means “house of bread”. Moreover, Jesus was born in a manger, which is a food-stall where cattle are fed. Born in a manger at Bethlehem, Jesus, son of God, will proclaim: “I am the bread of life.”

At a most basic level, bread is staple food. Roti is our first basic necessity, besides kapda and makaan. We cannot live without bread, rotis, idlis or dosas. Second, bread or food material is used in religious rituals. The Bible speaks of “bread of the presence” kept before the sanctum sanctorum. Third, bread is seen as divine gift. During the Exodus march from slavery to freedom, people were fed with miraculous manna in the wilderness and praised God for: “The bread, which God gave us to eat.”

Jesus works bread miracles during his lifetime, two of which are recorded in the gospels. He feeds the crowds. But, though he is concerned about physical hunger, he cautions his followers: “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God,” meaning, besides physical hunger, human beings suffer from spiritual and moral hungers too.

In the famous “Lord’s Prayer” Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, saying: “Our Father in heaven — give us today our daily bread.” Bread or chapatis do not drop down from the skies but are got through some annadata. This annadata can be God, or, as Muslims would call Allah “Al-Muqit”, the great nourisher. Annadatas can also be our farmers and cooks who ensure that we get bread to eat. Indian tradition has a beautiful prayer, “Annadata sukhi bhava (May the food-donors be blessed!)”.

At Christmas, people worldwide bake yummy breads called by different names: Italian panetone, German stollen, Norwegian julekake, French pompe de noel, and so on. In case you receive a Christmas cake or eat Christmas pudding, don’t forget that Baby Jesus of Bethlehem, house of bread, invites you and me, to be bread, break bread and share bread that satisfies several hungers. Nourishing others, we’ll truly be God’s children — like that baker’s wife. Blessings of Christmas!

( Source : Columnist )
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