At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed
that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire.
(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census.
And because Joseph was a descendant of King David,
he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home.
He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee.
He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
Luke 2:1-5 NLT
A while back on the blog I looked at the first three verses of this passage and thought a bit about the inconvenience of Jesus’ birth and the busy-ness of this season in general.
Tonite I want to focus on the last new verses, but since they begin with the word “and”, I thought it might be a little confusing to leave the first three out. They are there for context.
Joseph was a descendant of David and had to go to Bethlehem for the census. Because God had mad a promise. God had promised that David’s descendents would rule forever. General opinion in Israel was that this meant that the Messiah would be an earthly King who would always have a successor on the throne.
But God tends to think bigger than we do. And in God’s plan, the Messiah would be a new being – both fully human and fully divine. One who would die, but then would rise again. One who would rule in eternity because eternity is where he comes from.
Mary and Joseph were aware that God was up to something big, but I doubt they knew what it all meant. It’s the same thing for us today. I believe that God is up to something big, all the time. But that doesn’t mean I know what it all means.
The trick is to have faith that God is at work, celebrate the moments when God’s activity is revealed to us, and know that the story God is writing will always be bigger than we can imagine. Because God deals in eternal things. And that is pretty awesome.