The prophet Isaiah speaks the voice of God as he tells the emperor Cyrus: “I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God (Is. 45:5b). I bring prosperity and create disaster; I the LORD do all these things (45:7b).
As with Cyrus so it was in the days of Caesar Augustus, certainly not a man who worshiped God. He made a decree that a census should be taken of the Roman Empire. What else would have forced Joseph and Mary to the small village of Bethlehem?
Perhaps it felt like a disaster to them; the timing surely seemed wrong. Yet, this decree that affected the whole empire moved Joseph and Mary to the very place of prophecy fulfillment. The child Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem.
Perhaps, as this year comes to a close, you have received honor, or perhaps your world is rocked by disaster.
Isaiah reminds us that God works in the lives of those who acknowledge Him and in those who don’t.
All the days before our time, right this moment, and in the epochs to follow, God is carving out His story, and the birth of Jesus is certainly one of the greatest moments in this narrative.
Remember it. Ponder it. Let it renew your soul.
And, they will call him Immanuel—which means, “God with us.” (Mt. 1:23)
Happy Christmas season, Christa. May your days be filled with awe—
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything