“About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.” Luke 2:1-7 (MSG)



Just around the same time Mary was to give birth to Jesus, Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem for the census. What are the odds that Jesus would be born that year of all years? The odds are very high when God is orchestrating the story. Jesus needed to be born in Bethlehem to fulfill the prophecy. So, God began moving around situations to facilitate it. Making the trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem while nine months pregnant was not ideal. It would have been an unusual trip and seemingly inconvenient. Then, having a baby in a stable with animals would have been even worse. Yet, Jesus came without fancy packaging or the perfect circumstances. And on that dark night, His light shined brightly.


We tend to tell the Christmas story with a stable, a manager, and baby Jesus. It’s all wrapped up in a nice package. But the first Christmas was anything but a nice package. It was messy; it wasn’t ideal. The accommodations weren’t nice. Jesus didn’t need a perfectly kept room to make his appearance, and he doesn’t need a perfectly groomed life to be welcomed in. When we “sanitize” the Christmas story, we lose the imperfections of that perfect moment. This Christmas, cherish the gift of Christmas and be reminded that Jesus can be welcomed no matter where you are or what you have done.


Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. 

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About Hona Amer

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