In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to their own town to register. (TNIV)
The Christmas story in Luke 2 begins not in Bethlehem of Judea but 1500 miles away in Rome. It begins with Caesar Augustus, a secular political ruler. “Augustus” was the title given him by the Roman Senate that was so impressed with his leadership that they treated him like a god! They called him “Savior, Bringer of Glad Tidings, the Messiah.”
In those days—the days of Caesar Augustus—Romans celebrated a great end-of-the-year festival called Saturnalia. They hung holly, mistletoe & evergreens and exchanged gifts. They would wish each other a joyous Saturnalia.
No one worships Caesar Augustus any longer. Only JESUS and his Kingdom remains. Today we worship a “Savior, Bringer of Glad Tidings, the Messiah.” His name is JESUS, the Christ, born in those day, but still living in these days. So, in these days, we no longer wish each other a joyous Saturnalia. Instead, we say with great joy, MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Reflection: how might each of us be part of bringing glad tidings of Jesus to people we interact with today?
Prayer: Come, thou long-expected Jesus, rule in all our hearts alone. By thine all-sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne! AMEN!
Presbytery of Olympia
Pictured here leading WPC Leadership Retreat in October, 2013