December 20 – “…Caesar Augustus issued a decree

“…Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world…So Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem.”

Read: Luke 2:1-7

God enters this world in disguise. Instead of a militant messiah with a vanguard of warlords the God of the cross is born to a peasant family in an obscure Palestinian village. He comes quietly, uninvited and unexpected. Theologians speak of the hidden God, His power and majesty concealed so the power of love and grace may be revealed. God goes before us in ways completely unexpected.

From his palace in Rome, Caesar issues an order effecting everyone in the Roman Empire. A word from Caesar and everyone must jump, but even the political power of the Roman empire is orchestrated to serve the purposes of God and fulfill prophecy. Caesar’s political sovereignty is an illusion but the poverty of Jesus is real. We get a sense of the fullness of time from Mary and Zechariah’s songs but when we actually look at what happened the circumstances look ill-conceived and difficult. I wonder if Mary and Joseph ever asked themselves, “If God is in this why don’t things go better?”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to see Your purposes in our difficulties. If our privations and problems reveal Your glory so be it. Help us not to complain and grow discouraged. Teach us to see Your grace going before us. May this Christmas be filled with joy not in spite of our poor circumstances but even because of them. May Your Glory be revealed. Amen.

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