All of us count – this Christmas!

Earlier this year we were counted! We were informed that by participating in the nationwide census it helps
to create a clearer idea of our personal needs, the family and community needs. This data then helps the
government agencies to plan how they can respond to these needs. They affirm that the more data they
have the more positive changes they can make.
However what would your reaction have been if they had added the following? You must return to your birth
town to be counted? Can you imagine trying to get flights, travelling on the busy roads, booking
accommodation, finding special meals, let alone dealing with all the stresses that go with travel? BUT, what if
you were pregnant and due to give birth in just a few weeks?
The first census of the Roman world, included Israel and everyone had to go to their hometown to be
counted. In Luke 2:1-7, we read the story of how this affected Joseph and Mary.
“About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record
books. [  These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.   Everyone had to go to their
own hometown to be listed. So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long
ago Bethlehem had been King David’s hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David’;s
family. Mary was engaged to Joseph and travelled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a
baby,    and while they were there, she gave birth to her first-born son. She dressed him in baby clothes and
laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Joseph was a descendant of David, so by law he and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem for the census. It would
take a good week to walk the hundred kilometres from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
How would you react in Mary’s case, what questions would you be asking not only of Joseph but God as
well? Do you think she experienced doubts and fears? Would her faith in God sustain her through this
challenging time ahead?
A few months before this journey, Mary sang a beautiful song that revealed her firm faith in a faithful God,
Mary’s Song of Praise:

“With all my heart, I praise the Lord, and I am glad because of God my Saviour.  God cares for me, His humble servant.
From now on, all people will say God has blessed me.
God All-Powerful has done great things for me, and His name is holy.
He always shows mercy to everyone who worships him.
The Lord has used his powerful arm to scatter those who are proud.
God drags strong rulers from their thrones and puts humble people in places of power.
God gives the hungry good things to eat and sends the rich away with nothing.
God helps His servant Israel and is always merciful to His people.
The Lord made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his family forever!”
Luke 1:46-55.
Mary rejoiced, and she chose to worship and rejoice in God despite not knowing what the future held for her
and the Son who would be born to her.
This Christmas let us stand firmly in the Lord and be counted! Celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ,
sing songs of praise to our wonderful God and thank Him.

Let us respond to our “Christmas” situations with joy, praise and worship?
“The Lord has blessed you because you believed that He will keep his promise.” Luke 1:45 

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