In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world… And everyone went to his 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. (Luke 2:1,3-4 NIV)
So much of what we hear about at Christmas is a great story, but not necessarily true.
"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..." not going to happen for large parts of the world.
"Frosty the Snowman..." a singing snowman who gets saved by Santa Claus.
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer..." don't even get me started.
Or any number of songs and movies that relate the myth that Christmas is always a time of happy family gatherings. While it may be true for you, there are many people without a family to celebrate with or a family they would rather avoid.
What about this one: "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you." (Luke 2:10-11 NIV)
Is this a true story? Well, Luke 2 starts with Joseph following a decree from Caeser Augustus. He was a real man, check the history books. Rome, a real city that still exists. Nazareth and Bethlehem, real towns that still exist, as well. And Joseph came from the line of David; who from archaeological evidence, in addition to what we know from the Bible, was a real man who built the real city of Jerusalem.
The fact that the story of Jesus' birth is based in a real place and time in history tells us something significant. It tells us, who believe in the truth of the Bible, that the rest of the story is true. The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The choir of angels. The promise of eternal life. We can believe it all.
The love of God is not just a pleasant, bedtime story. God's grace and mercy are not false promises in a book but are shown to us through the sending of His Son.
This Advent season, let us live in and share the TRUTH of God's love as seen through the baby in the manger.
Heavenly Father, Thank you for being real and true and for showing your love for us in the shape of a tiny baby who would grow into the man who saved us all. Help me to share this truth with those around me this Advent season. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.