2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 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.
What a terribly inconvenient time for the governing authorities to call a census. Right when Mary was heavily pregnant. So much so that she has to have the baby away from family and friends in Nazareth, and instead in a stable because no family or friends or even guest houses could accommodate them.
Here we are reading about the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s, and He is born away from ALL pomp and circumstance. His parents alone and under the stress of having to deliver him into the world solo. It seems like the ultimate juxtaposition.
And yet if you do some Bible research, the ancient prophets had said that Jesus (the Messiah) was to be born right here in this town of Bethlehem.
What this says to me – what appears to my human eye as terribly unhelpful natural circumstances can actually be right where God wills me to be.
What is instructive to me in this passage is the activity of Mary and Joseph to what was before them. They could have refused to leave Nazareth – for good reasons with Mary heavily pregnant and needing her family and friends around her. But they would have put themselves and Jesus in some jeopardy most definitely! Instead, they do the right thing, being submitted to the governing authorities at the time, even though it came at great cost to them and their ideal way of handling their pregnancy.
This is a lesson in integrity for me, and it goes to show that God chose good people when he chose the parents of Jesus. These were people with a humble integrity.
In the day to day of life, Lord, help me to choose what is right to do before you and mankind, irrespective of what it costs me because this is true righteousness. Amen.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh