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Summary: It may seem like Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were at the mercy of innkeepers and emperors, but, in retrospect, the birth of Jesus amplifies God’s control and involvement in the entire matter. God is strong and in control.

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God’s Orchestration of Christmas

(Luke 2:1-7)

1. This story broke this week from the United Kingdom: " LONDON (Reuters) – Gone are the days of shepherds in tea towels and tinsel-clad angels. Britain’s competitive parents are forking out on luxury pashmina shawls and velour dressing gowns to make their child the star of the annual nativity play.

The rise in so-called "manger chic" has seen parents spend up to 150 pounds ($250) on arctic fur throws for children cast as sheep and ivory bridesmaid dresses for angels, according to department stores group Debenhams.

"The amount of money that some parents want to spend on their child’s nativity play appearance would enable Baby Jesus to leave the stable and check into a five star hotel," said spokesman Ed Watson.

Intense competition for places at good schools, concern about the future state of the jobs market and a drop in handcraft skills like sewing among time-pressed parents appears to be to blame.

But Debenhams is keen not to encourage the trend.

"While we applaud parents for wanting to do their very best for their children, we feel certain that the story of The Nativity can still be told using very simple materials," Watson said.

2. Some people simply seem to ignore the tone of that first Christmas.

Main Idea: It may seem like Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were at the mercy of innkeepers and emperors, but, in retrospect, the birth of Jesus amplifies God’s control and involvement in the entire matter. God is strong and in control.

I. The DECREED Decree (1-3)

1. Augustus thought it was HIS idea

Proverbs 21:1, "The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases."

B. But GOD sets the times

Galatians 4:4-5, " But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

Daniel 9:25-26a, "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ’sevens,’ and sixty-two ’sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ’sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary." Date of crucifixion April 3, AD 33.

[Note: for documentation or more info, see the DVD, "The Star and the Census" from Vision Video].

• The Annunciation (Luke 1:26) "Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth…"

• If we are using the Civil Calendar to determine the timing -- and the text could mean a variety of things -- including 6 months from the appearance of the angel to Zechariah -- that would place the date close to the traditional date of the Annunciation, March 25; it is this dating that leads some to believe that Jesus was born 9 months later, roughly December 25.

• This year, March 25 was the 8th of Tevet, December 25th the 29th of Adar.

• We cannot tell in Scripture, because Temple sheep were led through Bethlehem year round for sacrifice.

• Quirinius was not necessarily "governor" (administrator, commander) there, as most versions translate it, but rather the de facto ruler, in charge of Syria’s defense from 7 B.C. on. ‘ηγεμονεu’οντοs

C. God is PRO-ACTIVE and Can Make Things Happen

II. The PREPARED Family (4-5)

Luke 2:4-5 reads, "So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child."

A. Yosef Ben DAVID

David lived a thousand years earlier; it is often thought that, had David’s line been honored, Joseph could have been king in Israel.

B. Miryam BAT David

• Human being like the rest of us, but descendents of David; distant relatives

• Yet Miryam was a godly woman of great faith and humility; so was Yosef.

C. ESPOUSED

• explain Jewish marriage procedure

• Jesus was Mary’s firstborn, not only born…according to Matth. 13:55, Jesus had four brothers, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, and sisters.

• God had no problem creating this scenario; from an outsider’s perspective, it looked random. So often God’s ways seem random.

• Does your life seem random to you? Mine does to me.

Like the game Mousetrap, if we are in the middle of it -- the guy falling through the bath tub, for example, it doesn’t make sense. But we are part of a process. Maybe we will raise a child that will raise a child that will marry a woman with a child from a previous marriage, and your grandson will influence him and he will then become a missionary or evangelist. Who knows how it all works?

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