Advent Week 2, Day 1
About this time Caesar Augustus, the Roman emperor, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the nation. 2 (This census was taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
3 Everyone was required to return to his ancestral home for this registration. 4 And because Joseph was a member of the royal line, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, King David’s ancient home—journeying there from the Galilean village of Nazareth. 5 He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was obviously pregnant by this time.
6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born; 7 and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn. (The Living Bible)
The distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem was about 80-100 miles – 4 days to a week’s travel on foot, depending upon how far a very pregnant Mary could travel. (Jesus Trail Blog) They most likely traveled in a caravan, but there is no mention in scripture of any of Joseph’s family traveling with them. They were alone, awaiting the birth of their first child. They had no way to “call ahead” to reserve a hotel room. Would Mary make it in time? Where would she deliver?
Also, they knew that this child was no ordinary child. He’d been conceived at the proclamation of angels through the Holy Spirit. Would this be a “normal” birth? What would the Son of God look like?
There were no midwives, no female family members present. Just she and Joseph. Would the delivery go all right?
So much uncertainty! Is that where you are?
Illness looms and your days are uncertain.
There is no job forthcoming and the finances are uncertain.
Your marriage is totally on the edge, and your future is uncertain.
Your child is on the streets, and their life is uncertain.
Jesus came to bring peace in the middle of uncertainty.
Listen closely to the news the angels proclaimed after the birth of the Jesus. Their words were not only for the shepherd’s ears, but for ours as well:
“Don’t be afraid!” he [the angel] said. “I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone! 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem! 12 How will you recognize him? You will find a baby wrapped in a blanket, lying in a manger!”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God:
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,” they sang, “and peace on earth for all those pleasing him.” (The NLT Translation, emphasis mine)
How do we please the most holy God, so that we may experience this gift of peace?
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Go and search for not a baby in a manger, but for the God-man with nail pierced hands, ready to embrace a weary, uncertain soul longing for peace in the midst of uncertainty.