Another Jewish boy is born in a small town of a country that was dominated by the powerful and vast Roman Empire. This is the description of Christmas. The family was not important, the city was not important, at least in the world at that time, and the country was under the rule of the Romans.
At that time Octavian known in the New Testament as Caesar Augustus was reigning. He ruled from 27 BC to AD 14. He was the emperor at the time of Jesus’ birth. The Roman Empire came together as a stable homogeneous unit under imperial control and as if by design, roughly at the start of the New Testament era. They controlled most of the known world at that time and they had a powerful, well-trained army.
When we put the birth of Jesus in the Roman Empire, the event seemed small and insignificant. On top of that, we add the place where he was born – a manger. The situation was so chaotic that they did not even have a decent place to stay. A small town on the map, an insignificant family, under the major dominance of the Romans.
It is into this scenario that God planned the birth of His Son in this world. Everything looked so small, but the event had a cosmic proportion. The universe would change with the birth of that little boy. The spiritual realms would be realigned as much as the natural realms. He would bring redemption and transformation. A new Kingdom more powerful than the Romans Empire would be established, a kingdom that would not have end.
When we look to that manger, to that city, to that country, to that family, it is hard to believe the changes that would occur through that man. The question that comes to my mind is “why?” Why did God decide to come to this world in that city, through that family? It seems to me that God always does that. He chooses small events to announce big changes.
That is the emphases that we find throughout the Scriptures; the smallest, the most insignificant, the despised. They are the ones that God uses to make a difference in our world. This is what God told to the prophet Micah about that event: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Micah 5:2.”
For God, it does not matter how small is the place, how insignificant and impotent is the person. When He decides to do something big, He will do it, and most of the time, He will pick small things to accomplish big things. This is what Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. 1 Corinthians 1:29.”
My brother and sister, Christmas teaches us that God can use even you and me to do great things in this world. Through us He can change the eternal destiny of people around us and far away. We just need to be available for Him to use.
Have a blessed week,