Meditation and Devotional from David Niednagel, Pastor/Teacher, Evansville, IN. (David uses the S.O.A.P. method for his morning devotional: study, observe, apply, pray. (Friends: David’s recent morning study has been to focus on passages in the Bible that proclaimed that God would establish His King and Kingdom in the earth. That God would send a Messiah. Jesus is that promised Messiah.)
The Inconvenience of Christmas
Micah 5:2; Luke 2:1-7
Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me, one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”…
4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
5 And he will be our peace …
Luke 2:1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world…. 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Nobody likes paying taxes, and it is probably safe to say that subjects of Roman rule hated it when they had to pay. Further, Caesar decreed that everyone had to go to their ancestral town to register and to pay. It was hard enough for Mary and Joseph to endure the ridicule of being unmarried up till the birth of their baby, but then came the decree they had to travel the 70 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. What a tremendous inconvenience to travel that far at the end of her pregnancy. But Rome did not care. Orders were orders. And God was using Caesar as His tool so the Messiah would be born in the right place at the right time.
Joseph and Mary probably would not have decided to travel there at that time, but God had made the promise and He fulfilled it through what seemed like a terrible order from Caesar. In fact, everyone in the Roman world was inconvenienced, just so God’s Word would be fulfilled.
Lord, We get easily upset when other people mess up our plans, especially when they require much extra time, effort and money. I hope we don’t have any unexpected inconveniences today (or any day) but help me have confidence that You are still sovereign over people’s choices (even sinful ones) and will work them together for our good and use them to conform us to the image of Your Son. (Rom 8:28-29) Thank You that Christmas is a reminder for us to trust You with all our plans and inconveniences every day! Amen.