That first Christmas, all eyes were on Augustus—the cynical Caesar who demanded a census so as to determine a measurement to enlarge taxes even further. At such a time, who was interested in a young couple making an 80-mile trip south from Nazareth?
That first Christmas, all eyes were on Augustus—the cynical Caesar who demanded a census so as to determine a measurement to enlarge taxes even further. At such a time, who was interested in a young couple making an eighty-mile trip south from Nazareth? What could possibly be more important than Caesar's decisions in Rome . . . or his puppet Herod's edicts in Judea? Who cared about a tiny baby born to an unknown teenage Jewess in an obscure Bethlehem barn?
Without realizing it, mighty Augustus was only an errand boy for the commencement of the fullness of time. He was a pawn in the hand of God . . . a mere piece of lint on the pages of prophecy. While Rome was busy making history, God arrived. The world didn't even notice. Reeling from the wake of Alexander the Great . . . Herod the Great . . . and Augustus the Great, the world overlooked Jesus the baby.
It still does.
As in Jesus's day, our times are desperate. Moreover, they are often a distraction from the bigger picture. Just as the political, economical, and spiritual crises of the first century set the stage for "the fullness of time" to occur . . . so today, in our own desperate times, our God is weaving His sovereign tapestry to accomplish His divine will. Times are hard, indeed—but they never surprise God. He is still sovereign. He is still enthroned.
Christmas is an excellent time to ask ourselves this question: Will I focus on Jesus as the center of my life and cling to Him, regardless of the circumstances I face?
Political corruption . . . religious compromise . . . economic crises—these will always be on the front page. But we must remember that our God is at work on every page. His picture never appears, but His fingerprints are all over the map.
He promises to use our uncertain times to accomplish His bigger and better purposes all around our world . . . and deep within our lives.
See Romans 8:28–30.