Was the census by Caesar Augustus a coincidence?

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. . . . And everyone went to his own town to register. Luke 2:1, 3 (NIV)

Jesus was born in Bethlehem because God decreed it. His birth in Bethlehem was foretold by the ancient prophets. But what would compel Joseph and Mary to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, especially late in a pregnancy?

How would they, just as human as you and I and still looking through the glass darkly, know they were to go to Bethlehem for Jesus to be born?

In Luke 2, we see God used a bureaucratic announcement made by a secular authority to guide Joseph and Mary. Augustus said the population should be counted, and that meant everyone was required to return to their “ancestral home.” Joseph was a descendant of King David, so he headed toward David’s ancient home—Bethlehem (Luke 2:4–5).

Practical Nativity:

  • You were born at the right time. God was not surprised by your birth, the circumstances of your birth, or where you were born. He spoke you into your mother’s womb and he knows you by name.
  • You can be active, not passive in circumstances. Move from “Why me, God?” to “What’s up, God?” God is working all things out; look for where he is at work (Romans 8:28).
  • You have a hopeful future. How would you view the circumstances of this Christmas season differently if you were certain God was working in those circumstances? “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT).

Praise for Breakfast with Bonhoeffer

Best Christian book this year!! – I don’t usually write reviews but this book is so exceptional that I just have to share my thoughts. Jon Walker has managed to share his real life struggles and apply them to the biblical words and understanding of Bonhoeffer. The way he weaves the words of his own story of brokenness with the words of salvation from Jesus Christ teaches us all where our true treasure resides. Mr. Walker shares how he lost his family, financial ruin, and all the while battled mental health demons as he hit bottom. In between anecdotes he gives us Bonhoeffer’s biblical guidance to inch closer to God, to focus on God, and make God the center of his life. I am buying this book for many of the people I care about for Christmas this year. By jc via Amazon. (Thanks jc!)

This devotional © Copyright 2012 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Jon Walker

Jon Walker is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals and a contributing editor at pastors.com. Copyright © 2017 Jon Walker. Used by permission.