In those days Ceasar Augustus issued a decree
that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
(This was the first census that took place
while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
And everyone went to his own town to register.
(Joseph was from Nazareth, but the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem.
How carefully God ordains even the smallest details
in Mary and Joseph’s lives to line up with His purposes,
causing a national Roman decree to dictate Joseph and Mary’s whereabouts
when God knew His Son would be born.
He does no less with all the details in our life,
even, and especially, those that seem random and impossible and harsh.)
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea,
(Ever an honorable man, Joseph is a man of obedience.
Just as Quirinius would have been completely oblivious
to the much wider and far-reaching effect of His words,
his decree deeply affected the lives of many,
including Mary and Joseph's next steps,
so today our own actions and words deeply affect the lives of those around us.
The Lord uses us to impact others even though we probably are unaware
of the connections between our seemingly independent action
and its wider and far-reaching effect on others.)
to Bethlehem the town of David,
(Though Joseph was a lowly and insignificant descendant of the line of David,
God chose him to be the caretaker of His Son.
Joseph was also a man whose hometown was Bethlehem,
an important detail that God carefully orchestrates as He brings His plan together.)
He went there to register with Mary
(As her espoused husband,
he takes Mary along with him on this trip of about 70 miles or so.)
who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a Child.
(She was great with child, probably very near her delivery date,
but still made this, perhaps, three- to five-day trip with her espoused husband.)
While they were there, the time came for the Baby to be born,
(At just the right moment in history, at just the right place to fulfill ancient prophecy,
to just the right two people, the Baby Jesus was born of God and man.
God doesn’t make mistakes. He has it all planned out in our life as well.
As we seek Him, He orchestrates our circumstances
to bring about His mighty purposes in each of our lives!)
and she gave birth to her first-born, a Son.
(What a miracle of God’s great and holy purposes!
Not only in Mary’s life, but in ours as well!
This first-born Son of Mary is as much a gift to us this very day
as He was to this precious young mother of long ago.)
She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger,
(Travelers in ancient times often wore around them a cloth
that would serve many purposes,
among which could be a burial wrapping if unexpectedly needed
if someone or the wearer died during the travels.
The “swaddling” cloths that Mary used to wrap her baby Son
may well have been the “burial” cloth
she had wrapped about herself on her travels.
If such speculation is true, the Christ Child was from birth
wrapped in the cloth of His death,
foreshadowing His later sacrificial death for His people!)
because there was no room for them in the inn.
(What a monumental and tragic indictment!
Some anonymous, ordinary innkeeper will forever be known as someone
who didn’t recognize the One Very Important Person in his full house that night,
the One Who needed the innkeeper to need Him that night.
The innkeeper was too busy to notice this was no ordinary situation,
too busy to notice that he needed to allow these people,
above all the other guests, into a place in his inn.
In our busy, packed lives, full of people and activities
and jobs and problems and celebrations,
we need to make sure we do not shut out the Savior from our life.
He is gently knocking and asking if we have room for Him in our life.
If all our busyness has left no room for Him in the inn of our life,
we need to make sure that we not only make room for Him,
but that we give Him, not just a side room, but central lodging in our life,
too often no small undertaking on our part.
Only with His guidance can we begin to give Him
the principal place in our lives that He asks for and deserves.
How we need to recognize our need of Christ as our Savior
and to invite Him in and make room for Him today!)
May the Lord richly bless you this day!
In Christ's love,
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