We are coming up to a census for the year 2010. I have watched government officials get ready for the event by making sure all the addresses match up with their paperwork and that it is, indeed, a place of residence. I remember my friend was staying with relatives in Argentina several years ago while they were having a census. Basically, the whole country shut down for a day while everyone stayed at home and waited for an official to come to their door and count how many people lived there. Here in America, there are a lot of reasons for a census. A lot of statistics are taken and studied for years. In our story for today, the census that Cesar Augustus called was probably for tax purposes only.
If you remember, Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, but they had to travel to Bethlehem because Joseph was in David’s line. I think of how uncomfortable this journey had to be for Mary since she was VERY pregnant at this time (it is a good thing she was young). We are not given too many details of Jesus’ birth except that he was laid in a manger because there was no room in the inn. It is assumed that since he was laid in a manger, he must have been in a stable.
Have you been in a barn or walked through the stables at a fair? It is very smelly and dirty. Not only was it a humble beginning for Christ, but an interesting representation. I used to have a job where I needed to do home visits, and there were times that the home I needed to visit was unclean and very smelly. I noticed it the minute the door opened; however, the families never noticed the smell because they were used to it. I sometimes think that is what our sinful human nature is like to God. I’m sure our sin is messy and dirty, and our thoughts just stink; we just don’t notice it since we live with it! Yet, with all the mess and stink, God was still willing to make a way to be with us and save us from our filth. Jesus did not put himself above us because he was God; instead He came and lived among us. What love our Savior has for us!
Oh, how thankful I am that I have a God that came to me with my filth and washed me clean! I am feeling so incredibly overwhelmed by His love right now. Have you allowed yourself to be overwhelmed by God’s unending love?