We know that two things in life are certain – death and taxes. This has been true for far longer than anyone can remember.
And so it was in the days of Jesus’ birth.
Luke 2:1-5 reminds us of this with these words: “And so 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.”
So even as that day was closing in that the birth of Jesus as Immanuel was to be born, there were still things which just couldn’t be dismissed.
Life still had to be lived and things done.
Today, we will be rushing about trying to do life, works, school, caring for those that need care, paying bills and on and on the list goes.
Then added to the regime of daily living comes new demands of our time, talents and treasures... all the planning in which one gets involved to make “Christmas” happen.
Shopping, planning Christmas dinner, wrapping presents and getting the cards all signed and addressed and hopefully in the post without missing someone important.
And in the middle of this – just as in the days of Jesus coming – we find too often that the next two verses take on real meaning for us.
Luke 2:6-7: “So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
That wee phrase that we see every year in the nativity plays as the children sing out the knock, knock of the song as Mary and Joseph try to find a room.
Yet the scriptures and the play remind us that there was no room for them in the inn.
And too often we must be reminded that in our hearts and lives that the truth of Christmas really is about Jesus and the peace he offers to each and everyone who makes room.
We can get so bothered by the ‘taxes’ that we can fail to see the manger – and more importantly who was there in that wee stable of so long ago.
I leave you today with the words of one of my favourite carols:
“Away in the manger, no crib for his bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head, the stars in the bright sky look down where he lay: the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
“Be near me Lord Jesus; I ask You to stay close by me forever and love me, I pray; bless all the dear children in Your tender care and fit us for Heaven to live with You there.”
Rev Jon Bergen