Constant Change and God’s Plan Monday, December 20, 2021
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
Joseph’s life is entirely out of his control; he is required to begin unexpected travels to the homeland of his generationally distant relative all while his fiancé is bearing an unplanned child. From Joseph’s perspective, he lives in an uncontrollable, unavoidable chaos – something we can all relate with to some degree.
It still amazes me to think about the large-scale changes our world underwent in the past few years, but it equally amazes me to think about the direction in which we are headed. Whether reflecting on the ubiquity of the global pandemic, or of the recent announcement by Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, detailing his vision of the future metaverse, our world functions in ways that, like Joseph, are entirely out of our control. There are only two factors we as humans can truly count on: consistent change and God’s plan.
The common man may have felt as if Emperor Augustus was in control when he ordered a census to be taken of all men in their homeland, but he was merely a pawn in God’s grand plan. Centuries before Christ’s birth, it was prophesied that Jesus, the son of God, was to be born in the town of Bethlehem. Joseph’s genealogy traces him back to King David, and Bethlehem is referred to as “the city of David”. It was no coincidence that Emperor Augustus decreed all men to return to their homelands as this required Joseph to travel to Bethlehem, which is exactly the place God intended for Jesus to be born. This chaos in Joseph’s life was not the result of the Emperor’s rule or of an unplanned child, but it was the direct result of God’s plan for Jesus to be born and live amongst men on Earth.
Lord, we know change to be uncertain, undesired, and often intimidating. Let it be comforting for us to have confidence in your will to move people and manage situations to satisfy your perfect plan for us. Amen.
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Salisbury, NC
This devotional is a joint project between Christmas Lutheran (Bethlehem) and St. John’s (Salisbury, NC).