“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 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 to them.” – Luke 2:1-7 (NLT)
They didn’t look very intimidating walking into the gym. Not an athlete on the team appeared to be six-feet tall. As our opponent for that night slowly and quietly took their seats in the bleachers, we had already begun to talk about what an easy win this was going to be. A short time later we were dressed and ready for tip-off. The next hour was humiliating! This unassuming group of basketball players took us to the woodshed. They pressed us full court for the entire game. We looked ridiculous dribbling the ball off our feet and throwing passes into the stands. When the buzzer sounded ending the game, we all realized that we had learned a valuable lesson. Things are not always as they appear.
To the casual observer, there was nothing spectacular about Jesus’ birth. Mary and Joseph were just another couple making their way to Bethlehem to take part in the Roman emperor’s census. They left their home in Nazareth knowing the trip would be difficult as Mary was pregnant. When they arrived in Bethlehem, it was time for Mary to deliver, but there was no place for them to stay. Jesus was born, wrapped in pieces of cloth and placed in a feed trough for animals. I think it’s safe to say that most of those waiting for Jesus’ arrival weren’t expecting this kind of entrance. Things are not always as they appear. Jesus, the Son of God and the promised Messiah had arrived with little fanfare or grand celebration. The world has never be the same!
Heavenly Father, thank You for the greatest gift of all time – Jesus. Our Savior and hope of the world. Amen.