Luke 2:1-7 we read about the days before Mary would give birth to her first child, and how a decree was issued from Caesar Augustus. This decree was a spontaneous order which required those under Roman rule to follow.
The unexpected census could not happen at a worse time for Mary and Joseph, as she is in no condition to travel.
But God never wastes an “unexpected moment” in our lives. He is never surprised nor caught off-guard but works out all things for our good.
Yet, this untimely decree was the unsuspecting catalyst Mary and Joseph needed to fulfill an 800-year-old prophecy found in Micah 5:2. The birth of the Messiah was prophesied to take place in Bethlehem.
It was highly unlikely Mary would choose to go for a 90-mile hike, up-hill, at this stage of pregnancy.
What has all the markings of an inconvenient event demonstrates God’s sovereignty at work and is not hampered by empires or rulers.
There was no legal reason for her to go but one reason might be how at this stage of pregnancy, there is no way of concealing her pregnancy.
Anyone with basic math skills would understand that Mary had conceived this child during the engagement period, and she would have been looked upon with contempt.
Joseph would have taken Mary with him to prevent her from dealing with the social backlash alone.
As they arrive in Bethlehem, they discover that there is nowhere for them to stay. The city would be at capacity as the census commanded all residents who had moved from Bethlehem to return.
The irony is, Joseph is returning to his hometown, where he would have family, extended family and friends, yet no one would take them in.
Joseph and Mary had to expect this sort of greeting and treatment, although I’m sure they were hoping someone would extend compassion to a woman about to give birth.
When choosing this couple, God had to know how they would be the object of ridicule and shame as people would fail to understand or believe their story.
But Mary and Joseph accepted this reality in exchange for the honor of obedience.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10
After they find no one to take them in, they settle for a room at a local Airbnb. It was no 5-star rated stay, but it was shelter from the elements even if it were next to a stable where the resident family kept their livestock.
- What a humble accommodation for a King.
- What an introduction of the Savior to the world.
- A small room next to a stable does not seem fitting for a King, but maybe this is exactly what God had in mind!
“5Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8
- Jesus was not born in a palace behind guarded walls.
- He was not born to royalty and out of reach to the common person.
- He was born in a home of an unknown person, in a visible location, which permitted the visit by a group of outcast shepherds.
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, we celebrate how God sent His one and only Son so that we could have a relationship with Him.
- He removed every barrier.
- He is accessible and available to everyone.
- You can approach Him; He is not out of reach.
This child would become a man, and as we celebrate on Easter, He would become a perfect sacrifice, so your sin and my sin could be forgiven, once and for all.
He provides you with a new life now and eternal life when this life is over. As you get ready to open gifts, remember that God gave us the greatest gift in His one and only Son.