Even though the tree up was up, the advent calendar was hung, and our outside lights were twinkling about the night air, my third-grade life was still rather drab. I had to plod along with school work. Chores had to be done. And Christmas specials on T.V. could only take me so far.
If anything, time seemed to slow down. Hours became days; days turned into weeks; and, weeks became almost unmeasurable. Oh for Christmas, new toys, and to have fun again. Would that happy day ever come?
Of course, the answer is, “yes.” Time doesn’t really slow down. And December 25 pops up like clockwork every year at exactly the same time.
But, the sentiment of futility doesn’t end with childhood. When we look around our world, it can be tempting to think, that no one cares. It can be tempting to think that God doesn’t care. We are just living life, doing our thing, and eating our cereal without any real purpose. Sadly, the holidays often highlight our loneliness and insignificance.
Thankfully, the Christmas story is the perfect antidote for holiday depression. Through the nativity, God reveals that all things work together for his glory and the good of his people. Everything has a divine purpose. And, we should trust the God who rules the universe.
Sometime around 6 B.C, the Emperor Augustus enacted the census the put Marry and Joseph on the road to Bethlehem. At the time, Augustus was focused on paying his armies, on defeating the rebellious Germanic tribes in northern Gaul (Modern Day France) and on keeping his daughter and grandsons from creating yet another family scandal. He barely mentioned the census in his memoirs. And his historians ignored it all together. In short, the census was not that important. And, the Emperor cared nothing about the little Jewish couple traversing Judea. And why would he?
But the king of kings did. Over 700 years earlier, God had declared that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Long before Augustus was born, before Rome was founded, and before Adam and Eve sinned, God had a purpose for Rome. He established the empire in part so that His word would come true, so that the savior would be born in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph
The first lesson of Luke 2 is that God cares about his people and their struggles. Despite appearances, nothing is insignificant, pointless or trivial in God’s sight. We do not wander aimlessly about for no reason. The Lord rules over, moves, and works everything for his glory and for the good of his people (Math 10:29-30). Even, “the authorities that exist have been established by God” (Rom. 31:1b). God uses everything in his power to bless his people through Jesus Christ.
Don’t lose heart this Christmas season even when life is hard. Eternal life and true joy are not dependent on our circumstances, stuff, or human relationships. Life and joy are dependent on the God who rules over our circumstances. If he can wield Rome for his glory, he can care for you. Trust him. After all, Christmas is coming!