December 3: Luke 2:1-5 NLT

In the United States a census is taken every ten years to provide equitable representation in the U.S. congress and state governments. The census was not to be a burden on anyone. I can remember when a census taker came to my family’s home to get an accurate count of the household. Today a form can be filled out online.

This was not the case at the time of Jesus’ birth. A census was a hardship, as people were required to journey back to their ancestral town or city. There could be problems along the way, such as robbers and weather issues. Also, it was time consuming and costly. For Joseph and a very pregnant Mary this was very likely no picnic.

For what reason would Rome call for a census? To collect taxes so the Roman government could control its empire, which included Israel. This was a cruel action by the Romans who cared very little about any inconvenience caused by the census orders. They needed money to build a strong military, continue to become a powerful empire, and defeat their enemies. 

Thus, Jesus was born into a world where two of the greatest evils of the time were playing out: desire for money and power. Is our world any different today? Are these two evils not still a problem for us? Jesus came into the world with humility to bring peace and love to us. To show us a better way. Jesus’ kingdom would not be one of military or economic power, but a kingdom of the heart that loves God. Our Advent journey clearly leads to a choice. The world’s way, or Jesus’ way.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for showing us a better way than living a life of greed and power. Guide us in sharing this better way with the world.

Reflection Questions

Our advent journey leads to a choice. The world’s way, or Jesus’ way. Think about the things on your mind. Do you think about them the world’s way, or Jesus’ way?

The world’s way focuses on control, money, and power, which leads to stress, confusion, and feeling overwhelmed. Jesus’ way is filled with love and peace, which leads to rest, clarity, and more peace.

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