Skip to main content

A Census at Bethlehem

Pieter Bruegel painted in the 16th century. One of his paintings that I love because it's both biblically based and it's a bit of a "Where's Waldo?". The inn is crowded. In the mid-foreground, a woman is seated on an ass, in the company of a man with a saw on his shoulder, and he's leading an ox. Mary and Joseph are on their way to Bethlehem where Joseph's ancestors come from because of the decree of the Roman emperor for a census. The painting is from 1566 and
is entitled:

"Christmas Census at Bethlehem".

The text in Luke reads:
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:1-7 (NIV)

The beauty of the Christmas story is it's simplicity. In the context of a governmental order a movement takes place. The movement of a man and his young bride to return back to his origins - Bethlehem - leads to the beginning of a movement by God for his people to return back to him. Joseph returned to his roots, and with his movement back home, Jesus comes forth from his mother's womb, and Immanuel occurs - God is with us.

Christmas is a time to return to the roots of our life in God. It's a time to simply pray, to simply give, to simply return my heart to its first love - my savior and my God.

Perhaps like me it can be a day to simply, humbly, speak to God. To say "I love you Lord"... to ask for forgiveness of sins done - intentionally and unintentionally... to reach out and give the present of self to someone who is in need... to read God's word with eyes open for his love language to each of us... to be grateful and thankful for his gifts, no matter what they may seem to be... to pray for those who can't seemingly do the things above.

Merry Christmas Eve.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Welcome to Advent 2011 - Day 1

Advent is a wonderful opportunity to take time to "ponder" Jesus and the Incarnation.  It is not for "fast food" devotions; but rather, a time for "thinking" about all that God has done in sending his Son - Jesus, our Savior, to the world that ultimately would reject him!

Each day we'll read some scripture...then I'll share some thoughts on the passage and invite you to "comment", so that we can all gain from a wider community of God's people.  Please feel free to "comment" at the end of each post.

Finally there is an encouragement to pray, asking God to make the Word spoken more real in our hearts than we can ever gain from our intellect alone.

TODAY:  We read Isaiah 43:14, 18-21

Thus says the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: … Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? … For I put water in the desert and r…

Joy to the World - Help is On the Way

It’s the first day of Advent– while you prepare for Worship this morning at church take a minute to ask God to direct you through this season that you might be prepared to “receive your King”.

In the first week of Advent we celebrate the PROMISE of His Coming. His promise is based on our need. We were made in his image, but there is emptiness in our soul that is the result of the Fallen nature of sin. But why did Jesus come? What in his coming announces God's heart? His desire for us to know and experience?
10 BUT THE ANGEL SAID TO THEM, "DO NOT BE AFRAID; FOR BEHOLD, I BRING YOU GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY WHICH WILL BE FOR ALL THE PEOPLE;
11 FOR TODAY IN THE CITY OF DAVID THERE HAS BEEN BORN FOR YOU A SAVIOR, WHO IS CHRIST THE LORD.

GREAT JOY!
Did you know that God is Joyful?
1 CHRONICLES 16:23-27 (NASB)
23 SING TO THE LORD, ALL THE EARTH; PROCLAIM GOOD TIDINGS OF HIS SALVATION FROM DAY TO DAY.
24 TELL OF HIS GLORY AMONG THE NATIONS, HIS WONDERFUL DEEDS AMONG ALL THE PEOPLES.
25 …

The Messy Church

The First letter to the Corinthians is what I started reading a couple of days ago.  I'm just about done with it, and it is a picture of the "Messy" Church.
The Corinthian believers, like all believers in that first century, were newly established in their faith.  They probably were a mixture of both Jewish converts and Gentile believers.  Corinth is a port city in lower Greece, and had a reputation for being a city of perversion...sort of "whatever you want, you can get it in Corinth". In fact, to "Corinthianize" was to commit sexual immorality.  It is in this cultural setting that the church in Corinth comes into being.
The church struggled...division, sexual immorality, along with incest, eating foods that were dedicated to idols/gods, marriage's in struggles, freedom vs license as well as freedom vs. law, men and women in pure relationships, abuses in worship, trouble with use of gifts of the Spirit, and doubts about the resurrection...what a…