December 25, 2023

Jose Abaroa
“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

In times of Ancient Rome, no man was more significant than Caesar. Caesar Augustus, also known as Octavian, is heralded as one of the greatest leaders in human history. His leadership brought about a season of peace and prosperity to the world for the next two hundred years (Pax Romana). Peace, of course, was relative since it came at the expense of oppressing the likes of the Jewish people when Israel was annexed by the Romans in 6BC. This sets the stage for the Christmas Story.

Little did the world know that the most significant moment in human history would take place in the most seemingly insignificant way. Think about the contrast! Caesar resided in a marble palace in the metropolis of Rome, while Jesus was born in a manger in the rural town of Bethlehem. Caesar asked for a census by displacing people while God became flesh and made His dwelling place among us. Caesar’s leadership brought peace to the elite in Rome through military takeover, while Jesus came to bring peace to all of humanity through His life, death, and resurrection.

This Christmas season, I am learning that the power of God at times moves in seemingly insignificant ways. How easy it is to idolize the power of Caesar and the world and then miss the significant move of God in our lives. Take time today to find God in the mangers of your life.