Jesus is Born
This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12)
The second chapter of Luke begins, “In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists.” At the time of Jesus’ birth, Caesar Augustus was the most powerful person in the world, a world dominated by the Roman Empire. Therefore, when Emperor Augustus decided that everyone needed to travel to their hometowns to be registered, that was what happened. It didn’t matter if this journey was over sixty miles. And it didn’t matter if the woman to whom you were engaged was about to have a baby. Emperor Augustus decreed that the entire empire would be registered so that they could be made to pay taxes.
Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem. Although images of this journey often picture Mary riding on a donkey, the Bible doesn’t tell us whether they had a donkey or made the entire journey on foot. Either way, it was surely a long and weary trip, with Mary nearing the end of her pregnancy.
When they reached Bethlehem, it was time for Mary’s child to be born. However, many other people were in Bethlehem to be registered and there was no room for Mary and Joseph at the inn. And so, Mary’s baby, Jesus, also known as Immanuel (God with us), was laid in a manger. God’s Son began life humbly, in stark contrast to the power of Emperor Augustus. It’s highly unlikely Caesar was even aware of the birth of another baby in his empire.
At this time of the year when our lives and our schedules fill up with many things, it’s good to stop and consider whether we have filled our lives up to the point where, like the inn, there is no room for Jesus. As you prepare for this week’s lesson, take some time to stop and consider Jesus’ presence in your life. In the midst of Christmas preparations and celebrations, remember that the reason we celebrate is because God sent God’s Son, Jesus, to remind us that God is with us
Jesus is God’s gift to all people.
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