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Read Luke 2:1-7.
And she gave birth to her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in
swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was
no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

Now that Joseph and Mary were together as husband and wife
only one detail of prophecy remained to be fulfilled. Do you
remember our shelter and manger waiting patiently for Mary,
Joseph, and Jesus down in Bethlehem? Mary and Joseph are
70 miles away and have no plans for a trip south! The shelter
and manger will remain empty and Micah's prophecy unfulfilled-
unless God steps into human history once again.

So God steps in through the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus,
a powerful ruler at that time over the Mediterranean world.
Augustus issued a decree commanding a worldwide census. He
has no idea that he is an instrument in God's hand to fulfill the
words of the prophet, "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are
too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come
forth for Me One who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth
is from of old, from ancient days" (Micah 5:2). Because of this
census Joseph sets out with his wife Mary to the little town of

While they were there the time came for Mary to give birth. And
since there was no room in the inn in the crowded city, she laid
her baby in our manger inside that lowly shelter.

So many people come out to church on this night. Often they're
people who have not been here since last Christmas Eve. And
sometimes they're people who will not set foot in church again
until next Christmas Eve. Like the crowds of Bethlehem, they
turn Jesus away from their hearts and make Him remain outside
in the cold. He faced that kind of rejection all through His earthly
life-all the way to His death. But He suffered it all to save us. No
matter who we are or what we have done, Jesus has won our
place in paradise by His perfect life and innocent suffering and
death as our Substitute.

Are you home for the holidays this Christmas Eve? As you
prepare to gather together with family and friends, don't forget to
gather with your Christian family. Not just tonight or tomorrow,
but all through the year. Don't leave Jesus in that manger as
though He never grew up to save you. Join us in your church
home as we follow Him through His childhood. Join us as He
takes on His life's work and goes to the cross to save us all
through His suffering, death, and glorious resurrection.

God grant you a joyous Christmas gathering together with your
family and friends at home, in your church home, and in eternity
in His heavenly home.


 Heavenly Father, thank You for moving Augustus to issue a
decree so that Your Son would be born in the place You chose.
Prepare me to celebrate our Savior's birth this night, that He
might be born in my heart again, and that forgiven of all my sins
for His sake, I may rejoice in Your presence now and always. In
Jesus' Name. Amen.

(Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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