The Census is coming.
1. Everybody counts
2. Where you were is not who you are.
3. What are you wrapped inn?
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
1. Everyone counts.
This chapter is a more detailed chapter that gives understanding about the Christmas story.
So why count everyone? Why do it then, and why do it now? Real questions right?
In those days like in our days, there is a need to count people.
NLT = "All returned to their own ancestral towns." The Roman Emperor's decree dares not be disobeyed!
What’s really going on? His hometown or native city, his ancestral home, the place of tribal origin. This is a reference to the fact that the genealogical records of families in Judah were traditionally kept in their ancestral home towns. Rome was not just seeking to determine how many people lived in Judah but wanted to assure that all paid their taxes!
Octavian was ruling and declared himself ''Augustus Caesar'' = he was declaring himself God. At the same time God was saying ''not so fast, My Son is God.''
Paying taxes and getting things paid for...
Did you know we are in a year of census? This is what is said straight off the United States Government Census website.
What Is the 2020 Census?
The 2020 Census counts every person living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories.
The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. The 2020 Census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire—online, by phone, or by mail.
Why We Conduct This Count
The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.
The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
It's also in the Constitution: Article 1, Section 2, mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years. The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.
Participating in the census is required by law, even if you recently completed another survey from the Census Bureau. A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community, because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more.
So now we know why counting people is so important then and is now. Thankful that tax fund allocation is the primary means to this.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed [a]wife, who was with child.
2. Where you were it not who you are.
Look at all the cities. For those of you who care about my limited travel life, are you ready?
Born at St. Joseph in Orange (California), lived in Santa Ana until I was 5, then moved to Chino, from Chino I lived in Arizona for 24 years, to Irvine California for 2 years and now back again. Why do I say this? I for sure love to visit California, but living there is not my jam.
All these city names have great meanings. I Find it super interesting here that the Prophecy of Micah 5:2 is set in motion here.
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
This prophecy is hard to throw out. Jesus was moved to Bethlehem. Did you know what Bethlehem means? House of Bread is what the city’s name means. Isn’t it fascinating that Jesus is also called the Bread of Life? John 6:35.
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
Jesus is food and you find home in Him. Is it amazing? We can give the Lord some praise for sure here now.
Don’t forget that Joseph’s soon-to-be wife was pregnant and it was not his kid!
This is such a big deal. Wow. He could have chosen not to be married to Mary; however, we know from Matthew’s account of this story.
Let’s read it for understanding.
9 Then Joseph her husband, being [f]a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is [g]conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name [h]Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and [I]did not know her till she had brought forth her[j] firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Jesus had to be moved into a place that for his divine revelation of salvation. Maybe many of you don’t want to move. Some of us need to move. It’s all really where you are now. Where you were and your past is good. My wife tells a great story about this. She has lived in California for all her 45 years. She never knew what it’s like to be outside of Southern California. Where she was is a part of who she is but that So. Cal. ballerina loves country music. She was meant to live here! She would not have known that unless she traveled elsewhere.
6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a [b]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
3. What are you wrapped inn?
Swaddling clothes are small pieces of cloth used to keep the baby tight which in theory keep the baby remembering what is was like in the womb. It simulates that tight, warm, small space. Aside from not having Carter’s baby clothes to dress the child in and no new electric rocking bassinette, Mary didn’t even have a hospital or home to deliver in.
This whole Jesus account is a real story of poverty. No place for Jesus. Born literally next to animal feces everywhere and by our standards today a real unclean area. Joseph would have helped Mary give birth.
Notice Jesus, Who is God, is now born as Man and so he is called Mary's Son, emphasizing His humanity. Jesus' birth speaks of His amazing humility - no angels flying around (at least none recorded), no heavenly harps or trumpets, no voice from Heaven declaring "This is My beloved Son." Jesus steps from eternity into time in the humblest setting imaginable.
Remember at this time, lots of people would be traveling to be counted. Walking on land, across deserts and over mountains did not lend them the opportunity for quick travel.
The obvious Christian application is, do you make room for Jesus in your life. Do you have a room for him in your life? That’s a great take away and should be something that we definitely talk about however, I want to think about what are we wrapped Inn?
This building as you know was used for a private party club. Now it’s a place being used for God’s glory. Give God some Glory right now. What are we wrapped in however? For the most part, we have decent clothes. Warm clothes for staying comfortable and all our other necessities at our homes. Is your house being used for Jesus? Do you invite Jesus over? Do you have a spot in your house where you read and pray and enjoy the benefits of being a Christian? You know that sun has been shinning a fair amount this week. It’s been nice to sit in the back yard and let the son hit us and it’s amazing to thank God for all these amazing things.
But think with me; doesn’t it seem like we make more room for him when we are wrapped in pain or a situation of turmoil? Cancer, or how I am going to pay the bills, or the loss of your dog or the loss of a loved one or sending home a sick kid back to California after a visit. We seem to seek Him more during those times and it’s okay. However, I would like for us this week to look for opportunities to praise him just because. Just because its sunny; just because I am alive; just because you have two eyes or 10 toes. I would venture to say you will see more good things and how good God is when you are intentional about it. Be intentional about wrapping yourself in gratitude and God’s blessings this week.
Don’t forget we all count in God’s economy. All of us count.
Where you lived and where you are from is not who you are now. We are all in new seasons and enjoy where you live now.
Let Jesus be in your inn or in your wholeness of your house, your being, your life and all who you are.