In those days Caesar 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 their own town to register.
Seven hundred years before Caesar Augustus, the prophet Micah told the people that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Caesar Augustus, who thought himself a god, issued the decree that a census should be taken. But it was the sovereign God who directed the event. Can you imagine the commotion as families throughout the Roman Empire traveled back to their hometowns to register?
Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth and were quite content to stay there. Mary was well along in her pregnancy. But the census, purposed for taxing the people, changed their plans to stay put. They would have to make a long hard journey to Bethlehem.
Maybe something has changed your plans this Christmas. A job that didn’t go the way you expected. An illness that showed up uninvited. A relocation. A separation. A broken relationship. The loss of a loved one. Sometimes things seem to happen so randomly. But for the believer, God is always in control. Hold on! He is using today to prepare you for tomorrow. He will never waste your time.
Father, I pray for the person going through a challenging time this Christmas. Please remind them of Your presence and strength. Give them the assurance that You will never waste their time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
For parents: spend some time thinking about the chaos of an entire empire full of people traveling to their hometowns. If possible, have your children draw what that commotion may have looked like. For older children, use this story to remind them that God will never waste their time. In the first chapter of Living Grounded is a life map that will help you and your children see God’s hand in the events of your lives. I encourage you to do the life map exercise with your children. Let us know what you discover at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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