(I’m following these prompts for the 12 Days of Christmas)
Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
This is one of the sumptuous spreads the Turkish Community in Dallas shared with us and many more of our Christian and Jewish friends. Their tradition of sharing food was one of the main reasons they were able to befriend those of us who were, to them, “the other”. It’s said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – Jesus knew that one of the ways to anyone’s heart is through feeding them. It’s hard to listen to a lesson or appreciate those around you when your stomach is growling. That’s why I support hunger programs in Tacoma, like Fish Food Bank and Nativity House, and also Bread for the World.