The word Bethlehem means “house of bread.”  The manger, an animals’ feeding trough, is prominent in the Bethlehem story of Jesus’ birth.  Having a Bethlehem Table, covered with edible contributions from many of us, is an important Christmas Eve practice for me.  At such a table, the tradition goes on of being both those who are fed and those who feed.  Our Bethlehem Table was well laden this year, in true Mayfield fashion.  I enjoyed everything I tasted but want to mention two particular things.  They invested this year’s table with even greater meaning.

The first was a large container of peppermints.  It was left there for us by Diane.  She has been cleaning the church since Lisa, our regular cleaning person, was diagnosed with cancer and began extensive treatment last summer.  Diane has cleaned, and Lisa has continued to receive payment for the cleaning.  Diane’s peppermints were accompanied with a note:  “Merry Christmas!!  Thanks for letting me fill my friend’s place.  You have become my friends!!  In Christ’s Love, Diane.” In the sweetest manner, Diane reminded us of the spots at our table for all those with whom we serve and for all who teach us about deeper expressions of love.

The second was a delicious Italian sweet bread sent by Giulia from northern Italy in her holiday box for Peggy, Mitch, and JT.  Not a crumb remained by the time we had finished eating.  Giulia stretched our table across the ocean into the Mediterranean basin.  We are citizens of the world, challenged and enriched by a circle of people that never stops expanding.

We love to break bread well at Mayfield.  My prayer for 2015 is that we do it with an ever widening perspective.  Thank you to Diane and Giulia for widening our table this Christmas Eve.  Martha