And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. 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. to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. (Luke 2:1-5, N.K.J.V.)
In his devotional book The Believer’s Code, O.S. Hawkins explains how God used the census decreed by Rome’s Caesar Augustus in His prophesied plan to get Jesus born in Bethlehem. Hawkins writes:
Long centuries before His birth, the prophets foretold that Christ would be born in Bethlehem. But how? Joseph and Mary resided seventy miles north, in Nazareth. God put the whole world in motion to fulfill His word. A decree went out from Caesar Augustus that everyone was to go to the place of their family lineage to pay taxes. So Joseph, because he was in the line of David, left Nazareth with his very pregnant wife on a long journey.
Many of the things in our lives that on the surface appear inconvenient may just be the hand of God’s providence getting us to our own Bethlehem. Bethlehem reminds us what God promises, He performs — no matter what. Bethlehem is a place of providence, and so are you. God is at work, behind the scenes in your life, right now. He has not abdicated His throne. He is at work in your life when you are not even aware.
This Christmas you might be wondering what on earth God is doing in your life. Maybe your finances are tight. Maybe a loved one is sick. Maybe a family member has died. Maybe you feel like God is not doing anything good for you. At the very least, you feel like He’s not doing what you want Him to be doing.
If any of this describes you, my counsel to you is very simple: don’t give up on God. He really does work through the sometimes confusing and disappointing circumstances of our lives to funnel us to where He wants us to go and what He wants us to do. That seventy-mile trip that Joseph and a very pregnant Mary took from Nazareth to Bethlehem was surely not an easy one, but it was God’s will for them. And anytime we are doing God’s will, we are without doubt doing the right thing. The rest we just have to leave up to His providence and trust that His plan will work if we will work the plan.