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December 23 – A sad journey

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea… to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.” – Luke 2:4-5 

Scripture reading: Luke 2:1-5

The birth story of Jesus Christ begins under tyranny. Caesar Augustus, who was even thought of as a god, was busy ensuring that his empire would be taxed efficiently. This meant that lives were upended, all so that the Romans could have the information necessary to dominate their subjects. People like Joseph, who worked as a tradesman, were not wealthy. A command to travel like this meant hardship and loss. To make matters worse, his fiancé was expecting. This did not look good to the community and it was not an ideal time for a journey. Pregnancy was very hazardous in those times. Everything about the scene is sad and difficult.

When they came to their destination, things did not get better. There was no comfortable place to stay; there was no room for them in a dwelling or inn. They ended up in a stable, a barn, or perhaps the courtyard of a home where animals were kept. Sadly, much of what is thought of as “Christmas” romanticizes this scene. This is not good! There was little or nothing cozy or ideal about this situation. These would have been miserable and degrading circumstances. The Lord had chosen to “make Himself of no reputation” and “take the form of a bondservant” (Philippians 2:7). This scene is about the Lord Jesus beginning to take the place of sinners. The reason for this situation is that “…He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Suggestion for prayer

Pray for a realistic view of the incarnation and that many would see the true reason for the humility of Christ.

Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel.

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