The world was a much smaller place than it is today, when Jesus was born in the tiny town of Bethlehem. In fact a geographer named, Strabo had mapped out as much of it as he possibly could at the time. There were many unknowns. The world had not yet fully been explored, so the boundaries were limitless.
The place in which our Savior was born of a virgin mother, was insignificant. Had it not been for the hustle and bustle of the mandated census, there would only be a handful of people there that night. Instead, every room was full and the young couple would have to sleep with the animals. Mary would give birth to the Son of God, in that place. It wasn’t a royal palace, with midwives on hand. There were no servants to comfort her, only the encouraging words of Joseph. There were no royal robes or blankets of velvet to cuddle the newborn – only the torn strips of cloth that would tightly bind the child and keep Him warm.
All of Israel was under Roman rule. The age of Judean kings was long past. It had actually been four centuries since God had spoken to His people. As Judaism moved forward without divine guidance, four sects developed – the Pharisees followed the traditions of the past; the Sadducees opposed legalism and followed Mosaic law; the Essenes were considered the scribes who penned and preserved the Dead Sea Scrolls and prayed that God would lead them out of Roman oppression; the Zealots were a group dedicated to gaining their freedom from Rome through acts of violence.
The religion of King David had become fractured. Poverty ruled the land. There were no middle class citizens, just the rich and the poor. Unrest on all sides seemed to be the fare of the day. Riots were prevalent. Unrest was rampant. It was a time of darkness and desperation. The time was right for a Savior to come and bring relief to the people.
Today, we’ve turned Christmas into a commercial nightmare. Even though we live in a free country, we’re often held captive by the circumstances surrounding us. We waiver in our faith. We become disappointed with each other. We lose sight of our journey on this planet and focus more on what we can get out of it. There continue to be protests, rioting and violence in our streets. The focus on political correctness and sexual harassment has everyone on edge. There’s a ginormous desire for relief and many turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain.
The time is again right for a savior. It’s always the right time for Jesus to come into our hearts. He knows our needs. He comforts our spirits. He leads us out of temptation and provides answers for us. He lifts us up when we feel lost or unforgiven. He carries our burdens, so we don’t have to.
There will never be a true peace on earth, but for one moment in history, a little boy sleeping on a mound of hay, became the peace we all long for. God came to live among humanity – to experience our pain and sorrow – to laugh with us – to share with us – to lay down His life for us, because of His unconditional love. Because of this we will enjoy eternal peace!