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.
When I was a child, Christmas was a magical time when the whole world stopped. Everything shimmered, from the Christmas tree lights, to snow (when we were so fortunate), to freshly pressed clothes, to the shine on a roasted turkey. It felt as though “all the world” stopped and celebrated. But today it seems as though Christmas has been co-opted by commercialism. Stores stay open, restaurants serve, and shopping trumps celebrating. Yet “all the world” still desperately needs to know the gift of Christmas. It hungers, in fact, for what began that moment God came to earth. As we celebrate Christmas and consider the amazing gift of Christ’s birth, let our hope spread, so that Christmas will once again capture “all the world.”
Lord, thank you for drawing us to you, and through your grace, enrolling us in the eternal book of life. Give us the grace, strength and courage to live in a way that draws others to Christ. We pray that as we count ourselves among those who follow Jesus, we will likewise draw others to you, particularly those in our own realms and circles, to the greatest gift of our Lord Jesus Christ — that they, too, might be enrolled.