Read Luke 2:1-5. TEXT: In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered (Luke 2:1).
When we last saw Mary in our story, she was returning to her home in Nazareth, since Elizabeth was ready to give birth. Luke moves us a few months forward to the circumstances of Jesus' birth.
The prophet Micah announced that Jesus was to be born in the southern town of Bethlehem, not in Mary's northern town of Nazareth. To get her in the right place at the right time, God works through an edict of the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus to bring her to Bethlehem to fulfill Micah's prophecy.
It must have been strange and a little scary for Mary and Joseph to leave their familiar haunts to travel to Bethlehem. But move they did, and from the events that followed Jesus' birth, it seems probable they planned to stay in Bethlehem to raise Jesus. In fact, they only left when warned in a dream to flee (see Matthew 2:1-13). Even after the death of King Herod who sought Jesus' life, Joseph may well have returned to Bethlehem, until the Lord directed them to return to Nazareth (see Matthew 2:22).
The paths of our lives can take some strange and frightening turns. But no matter what doubts, fears and uncertainties may be in your path, you don't travel it alone. The Christ Child came into this world to assure us we will never be alone; He will be with us wherever we go.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for guiding the course of Jesus' life-and ours. Give us confidence that You will never leave us nor forsake us, that we may live in peace and confidence. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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