Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Advent 30 Day Retreat: Week 2: Day 9

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Leanne Walsh

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 travelled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. (Luke 2:1-5)

As we read of these historical events, it confirms for us that we are reading about ‘real’ people set in ‘real’ places and in a ‘real’ time in history.  

The census that draws Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem is to bring Joseph to his birthplace, the birthplace of David, where ultimately Jesus would be born.

This was prophesied centuries before in 
(Micah 5:2) "But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days”.
This journey (probably in winter) would not have been an easy one, Bethlehem being about 4 days journey from Nazareth.  Mary, heavily pregnant, only days from giving birth would have endured much hardship.

But who is to say that following God’s plan is easy?  When we face hardships or challenges in our life it is not an indication that God is absent.  He has promised us that He will be with us and that He will strengthen us in whatever difficulties we face.

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you.  He will be with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed”
(Deuteronomy 31:8)
In this time of preparation as we await our Saviour's birth, let us be assured of Him walking with us, helping us in our life.

Call out to Him, for He is near.