1At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4And 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. 5He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. 6And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. 8That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” 15When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.Luke 2:1-20
I am arrested by the way God broke through the trappings of humanity to accomplish his purposes in sending Jesus to heal our brokenness, to bring us back into relationship with himself. Meditate for just a moment on the way God spurred an emperor to take a census at the exact time Jesus was to be born. Due to this edict, Joseph and Mary needed to make the long trip to Bethlehem. Remembering how I felt when I was nine months pregnant, I don’t think Mary thought this was a great idea. As she prepared herself to make the journey, she may have been wondering why. Why did this have to happen now?
I don’t know what she thought or how she felt, but I do know that God does not change. If he said it, he will do it. And he used whomever he needs to accomplish it, even Roman emperors. Your situation is not beyond his ability to restore and heal. The journey may not be comfortable — Mary’s sure wasn’t — but it will be restorative and fulfill his word to you.