Advent Day of Joy – Preoccupied In Bethlehem
At the time of Christ’s birth the village of Bethlehem had maybe three hundred residents, and definitely less than a thousand. But with the decree of Caesar Augustus for each citizen of the Roman empire to travel to their place of birth for the sake of the census, this little village surely swelled beyond its capacity.
Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem but by the time they arrived the town was apparently so crowded that it was tough to find a place to stay, even for a woman about to give birth. Most experts today believe that it wasn’t an “inn” or “hotel” that Jesus’ parents were kept from staying at, but more than likely it was the crowded home of one of Joseph’s relatives, so they were consigned to the manger area that was probably attached to the house. Nevertheless, it was still a humble, yet divinely providential place for the Servant King and Savior to be born.
We can speculate that with the multitudes of people entering Bethlehem that the marketplace was crowded, and everyone was pretty preoccupied with their own and their family’s care, so thinking about a pregnant couple was not on anyone’s radar.
We can certainly become so busy – so preoccupied – with the celebrations, shopping, decorating, and everything else that goes along with our festive (and often secular) Christmas merriment.
I believe that the Lord God certainly wants us to enjoy this time of the year when the world – at least on the surface – celebrates and recognizes the birth of Jesus Christ – but then again, MOST of the world only cares about the festivities associated with the Lord’s birth, and thus miss the significance of the most important part: The incarnation – God became man in order to be our true and perfect representative so that He could die in our place for our sins.
The Lord is calling all of us – for His glory and for our own good – to ‘be still and know that He is God’, and specifically, that Jesus is God! The shepherds put the busyness of their work aside in order to rejoice in the birth of the King of kings, we need to stop, take a deep breath, and marvel at the manger (and we’ll say more about this topic next Sunday as we “Marvel In Largo”)!