School of Bethlehem
Autor: Anton Grima
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city with a population of 28,000 people. In Hebrew, “Bethlehem” means “House of Bread”, but it is also known as the city of King David.
Nowadays, there are more than 135 schools in Bethlehem but perhaps the best known school in Bethlehem dates back more than 2,000 years. Back then, this school was very poor, cold and dark – in fact in everyday life it served as a stable. It didn’t have any chairs or desks for the pupils, nor for the teacher. The first pupils at this school were a young married couple from Nazareth and a few shepherds who happened to be nearby at the time. The teacher was a newborn baby boy, by the name of Jesus, lying in a manger. The first lesson was held during the night of the first Christmas, just after the birth of the teacher. Classes have been going on since that night, especially during the months of December and January. This is the School of Bethlehem.
Baby Jesus – the teacher at the School of Bethlehem – doesn’t use words but he still teaches a lot. What does baby Jesus teach us from a manger in a stable? Amongst other things, he teaches us poverty – the Son of God, Creator of everything, did not choose to be born in a wealthy palace but instead, he chose to be born in a place where animals are kept. He teaches us humility and silence – as he chose to be born in a quiet place out of the city, during the quiet hours of the night. Baby Jesus shows us how precious is man in the eyes of God – man could not become like God, so God chose to become like man.
May we also be humble enough to be able to look at a baby lying in a manger and let him teach us what it really means to be a Christian, what it really means to be human. His teachings are free, for everyone, everywhere, all the time.