Advent 19: Caesar’s decree (or how to be born in the right place at the right time)

You don’t get to choose when you are born, or where, or to whom. So if you jumped straight into Luke 2, without any awareness of the remarkable events of chapter 1, the birth of Jesus might look pretty much like any other birth. A baby boy born to parents he didn’t choose at a time in history over which he had no control and in a place he didn’t choose. It just happened to be Bethlehem when it might have been Nazareth because that’s where his father’s people were from and Joseph had had to go there at this particular time because of an emperor’s decree.

As if discovering that his fiancee was pregnant had not been sufficiently unsettling to Joseph’s plans, the pregnancy would not be allowed to run its normal course without a journey to the ancestral home.

Amazing, isn’t it. I doubt that Caesar Augustus and his minions had ever heard of a simple carpenter, engaged to a young woman in Nazareth. Yet in the sovereign providence of God, this powerful man becomes an instrument that God used to have his son born in the city of David.

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