On this eve of Christmas, pause a few minutes to read and discuss the below devotional from Watermark’s Family Advent Devotional Guide.
"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child." Luke 2:1-5
Times were not good for the people of God on that first Christmas Eve. Looking on the bright side, the Jewish people were at least living in the land that God had promised Abraham all those years ago. Unfortunately, they were living in the land as it was being ruled by the vicious and evil Roman Empire, with Caesar Augustus as its king. Caesar was the ultimate ruler of most of the known world at that time and considered himself to be a god. He was in complete control of nearly everything… or was he? “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He will.” (Proverbs 21:1) Caesar woke up one day and thought, “I’ve got an idea! We need to make sure that we are getting everyone’s tax money, so let’s send them all back to their hometowns to get their taxes from them!” Caesar was proud of himself for this plan. Only it wasn’t his plan. It was God’s plan to accomplish His purpose. Like the rivers that God tells where to go, God turned Caesar’s heart to get a poor young man and his very pregnant wife from the town of Nazareth to his hometown of Bethlehem, 100 miles away. Hundreds of years before, the prophet Micah had told God’s people that their King would come from this small little town of Bethlehem. Nothing could stop God from keeping his promise… not even the powerful Caesar Augustus. God is still accomplishing His purposes and keeping His promises today. On this Christmas Eve, we can be sure that God is in control of the kings and rulers of our world, just as He was 2,000 years ago. Fear not! The King of Kings is on His throne!
- Parents, what are some stories from your family history that, looking back, you can see how God used life’s circumstances and even the decisions of others to accomplish His purposes? Share one or two stories with your children to show how God has controlled your steps as a family.
- What are the “hopes and fears” of your family on this Christmas Eve? Not just the hopes and fears of what will or won’t be under the Christmas tree tomorrow morning, but the hopes and fears your family has been talking about, praying for, or dreaming of going into the new year.
When Joseph and Mary got to Bethlehem, there was no room or bed for them, only a stable with a manger for a bed. Draw a picture of the manger Jesus was laid in on today’s ornament. Pray together for the desires of your hearts, your “hopes and fears” and then pray that your family will have the peace of God that comes from trusting in the Savior who has come and is coming again!