1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Beth-lehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day tin the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, Good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Beth-lehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Is there a greater day than Christmas? We wouldn’t have experienced the cross or anything else if it wasn’t for this day. After Adam and Eve had sinned paradise was closed but on this day it is as if paradise was opened again. What kind of people were the shepherds? One imagines that they were believers. Suddenly a light shone all around. That must have been a wonderful Christmas. What we have today is nothing like what they experienced on that Christmas. Caesar Augustus was the leader in Rome. He ruled the world and no-one could say anything against him and he was regarded as a god. The Romans were heathens. He made a law that a census should be held. He could have had different reasons for this. Maybe he wanted to know how many people he ruled and maybe he wanted to collect taxes because rulers love money. They went from his palace known as the palace of gold because of the great of amount of gold in it. When the devil tempted the Lord Jesus he offered him all the riches of this world. Caesar signed the decree because any one who didn’t comply would have been executed.
Mary was expecting her child and she had to go and be counted. It was a difficult time for her. She could have complained but this law of Caesar was all part of God’s plan. We say in our foolishness that things are not going right. We can easily complain and yet all the time God was in control so that the child would be born in Bethlehem. We love complaining and criticizing and here we see that God was in control and using even heathen rulers. We say the heathen are godless and all the time God is steering them. They had to get to Bethlehem. God even said of Bethlehem that it is not so insignificant because the Saviour would be born there. We are fools and criticize when there are problems.
Joseph was a real man. There is no man amongst us that can be compared to him. Joseph didn’t go around and talk to everyone about what had happened. Joseph didn’t let out the heavenly mysteries that God had revealed to him. No, he kept quiet about it. Jesus was grown up and people said, “He is the son of Mary and Joseph.” So Joseph didn’t tell everyone mysteries that God had revealed to him.
Caesar as a heathen king signed the decree that everyone should go to the place where they had been born. We don’t know how long it took them because it was about 160 km. They went under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Joseph was a wise man. It’s wonderful if you get guidance from the Holy Spirit and are not lead by your own emotions. It’s said that there is place for everything but when the Son of God arrives, suddenly there is no place. Maybe there was place but people looked at Joseph and Mary and because they had traveled a long way and she was expecting, they said they didn’t have space for them.
The stables were just dug out of the ground. Imagine, Jesus is the Son of God and Joseph had to look for hay just for him to lay his head on but maybe it was better amongst the cattle than amongst people who fight etc. Some had come from Rome where it was very rich but God’s Son comes and there is no room. What a shame! The world has lots of space for the devil but not for the Lord Jesus. If we have a little bit of brains in our head, what do we say about such a situation. Everything belongs to the Lord Jesus but people didn’t have room for him. Jesus came to take us to heaven but we’re not interested in going to heaven. What does heaven mean to you? Are boys and girls more important to you and you are still at school? Isaiah saw the seraphim calling out “Holy, holy, holy.” Do you look down on that and then still want to be respected. There were masses of people to whom this message meant nothing. The birth of our Lord Jesus is something amazing. The angel came and was as bright as lightening.
The shepherds hurried off to Bethlehem. They found the child just as the angel had told them. I wonder what they must have felt finding this child in poverty and then embracing him. This child was born to save us from our sin. This wonderful news was proclaimed. What would you have felt? He saves us from hell. Jesus should mean everything to you. Truly, Jesus should mean everything to you. Imagine him coming to take hell out of your life and save you from sin. A son told his parents that he was homosexual but Jesus has come to save us from that. Angels went back to heaven and reported that God’s Son had come but Man had no room for him. The shepherds shared with everyone what they had experienced, that the Child had been born – the one who will save us from our sin.
With how many homes have you gone to tell this news about the Christ child? When I was at school, I went to many and told them about the Lord Jesus. If you don’t have that desire, then you are going to the wrong place. What has happened in your life? Don’t play the fool with God. If you are quiet about this wonderful event, then don’t say you are a Christian.