While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born...
Today's Reading: Luke 2:1-6
Devo Author: Michael Smith
Date: December 18, 2021
It couldn’t have come at a worse time. They had just begun to find a little bit of normalcy during an engagement that had been anything but normal (angelic messengers, prophecies, and a virgin conceiving a child!). Then along came a government mandate: everyone must return to their ancestral homeland to be counted by the Roman authorities–not just in Israel, but “the entire Roman world” (Luke 2:1 NIV). For Joseph and Mary that meant a trip of 90 miles while Mary was pregnant–not exactly what the young couple had in mind.
Think about how many people were affected by this government order: people everywhere loading up and traveling to their family homelands. This was a major disruption of the lives and economies of so many people. It’s unlikely anyone found it appealing or convenient. But in God’s plan, the time was right. “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born” (Luke 2:6 NIV
My wife, Leigh and I also had a moment when it seemed like the worst possible time. It was around 4am on Christmas morning, and the sleet was hitting the roof of our house. Our baby wasn’t due until January 2, but the contractions were pretty steady. Suddenly, I regretted joking that I wanted the baby to come before the end of the year so I could get a tax break.
We got our two-year-old secured with grandma, and we headed out onto the treacherous roads to try to get to the hospital. The ice storm knocked the power out at the hospital. Our obstetrician slid his car into a ditch trying to get there. It all felt like the worst possible time to try to bring a baby into the world. But in God’s plan, the time was right. Our son, Isaac was born on Christmas day, delivered by a resident who had never delivered a baby before.
I think of the Christmas story differently than I did before that memorable Christmas. We rightly celebrate Israel’s Messiah and the world’s true King being born in a stable, laid in a manger, announced by angels, and worshiped by shepherds. But after our frightful Christmas day delivery, I now think of how Joseph and Mary must have felt when the contractions started. The circumstances were not what they had planned! But, as always, God’s timing was right. He had put in the heart of the Roman emperor a decree that had upended the lives of countless people all in order for His Son, Jesus to be born in the right place, at the right time. So this Christmas, whatever comes along that seems like the worst possible timing, remember that in God’s plan, the time is right. He demonstrated that when He came into our world at the perfect time, in just the right place, so He could rescue us and bring us into His family forever.