Advent Day 21

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them (Luke 2:1-7).

  • We like to sing “Silent Night,” but Luke actually gives us a pretty noisy, maybe even chaotic, setting for Jesus’ birth. The whole Roman world was traveling to ancestral towns to register for the census. All the guest rooms were full when Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem.
  • Is your world more “silent night” or “no room” right now?
  • Either way, these lines from a song might become your prayer today:

Thou didst leave Thy throne,

And Thy kingly crown

When Thou camest to earth for me;

But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room

For thy holy nativity.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,

There is room in my heart for Thee.

(Emily Elizabeth Steele Elliott — Salvation Army Song Book #153)

 

NOTE:If you’ve never practiced a lectio divina style reading of scripture, here are the basic steps:

Read: Read through the scripture once or twice. Don’t rush. Reading out loud might help you go slower and hear in a different way. Some electronic Bibles will even read the passage for you. No matter how you read/hear, take your time and let the words sink into your thoughts.

Meditate: As you think about the scripture, something might “jump out” at you. You might notice a word or a phrase that seems to be important to you right now. If so, take a minute or two and just let that word stay in your thoughts. Turn it over in your mind a time or two. Even if nothing seems especially important, ask yourself what God might be saying to you through His word.

Pray: Whatever God is saying to you, or inviting you to do, is a subject for prayer. Ask Him to help you understand and/or obey.

Contemplate: Sometimes we think that when we say “Amen” our prayer is over. Instead, why not carry the scripture with you throughout the day? As you go through your activities today, carry the scripture with you. Let it run through your mind while you drive, work or shop. You might even want to return to the same scripture at the end of the day and see if there is a further encouragement or invitation for you there.

 

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