Do you ever wonder what it was like on the first Christmas night?
The town of Bethlehem must have been unusually crowded. After all, it wasn’t that big, but with the Decree of Ceasar Augustus, everyone had to go to the town of his ancestors to register for a census, and that meant that MANY people who had been born into the “house and line of David” would be in Bethlehem.
Joseph went there and he brought Mary, his soon-to-be-wife who was pregnant by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. She had nothing to stay home in her own hometown of Nazareth for–she was being ostracized there, and wanted to be on the move.
Besides, as they would probably remember later, the Lord had prophesied that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem!
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you,
one whose origins are from the distant past.” (Micah 5:2)
So, here they were–along with many other visitors, overwhelming the small town.
Joseph and Mary looked for a place to stay. It was especially crucial because she was “Great with Child”–she was about to have this baby! They couldn’t find anything, though, so they had to settle for a cave or barn–a place where animals were kept.
“At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And 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. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” (Luke 2:1-7)
Hardly a great beginning for the Son of God!
But here they were–and it seems that virtually no one noticed!
The town of Bethlehem was asleep while their Savior came into their world!
They slept right through it.
Today, there are many right here in the United States of America who sleep through what God is doing also.
While we’re “Sung to sleep by philosophies” that exalt the self, and the here-and-now, we miss the work of God.
So, what about it America? If He comes again, will we miss Him? Will we be sleeping?
What about it, KCC?
Do WE need to ‘wake up’ this Christmas season? Do you?
Listen to the song from Casting Crowns, and consider whether or not you have been ‘sung to sleep’ by the philosophies of this world and missed what God is doing.
Consider and Discuss:
What are some evidences that our culture is ‘sleeping’ through the things that God is doing?
What do Churches that are ‘asleep’ look like?
What does it mean for you and your family to ‘Wake Up’ and experience God’s work this Christmas?