Every one of us has an insatiable desire for the world to make sense. It’s why we say things like, “Everything happens for a reason” or “If it’s meant to be, it will be.” Statements like these reveal the desire to make sense out of things. We just don’t like the idea that things in the world happen without some kind of purpose.
Even though we want the world to make sense, there is so much of the world that seems almost “random” – like things just don’t fit together. While there is much that doesn’t make sense and much we can never explain, that doesn’t mean things have to be left to “random” chance.
The story of the first Christmas is an incredible example of God being involved in the seemingly-random things of the world. It’s a perfect example of how sometimes things that seem so random when taking individually shape a very different picture when put together.
One such seemingly-random part was a decree made by the Roman emperor, Augustus, the significance and not-so-randomness of which was explored in part 4 (RandomING) of CCC’s Christmas-ING series.
Take a few minutes to read Luke 1:1-2:6 and the next step of applying the following questions about how some seemingly random things about the story of the first Christmas aren’t so random after all.
- What types of things would you describe as “random” about or around Christmas?
- When you step back and put those seemingly-random things together, how do they fit in Christmas?
- Why do you think there were “many accounts” about Jesus’ life?
- What do you think Luke means when using the word “fulfilled”?
- Why are eyewitness reports considered reliable? How might information from eyewitness bolster Luke’s credibility in what he writes?
- What are some things about the story of the first Christmas you would consider “random”?
- How might a decree for a census by Augustus be considered “random”?
- How does the census decree “fit” in the story of the first Christmas by requiring everyone to return to their homelands to register?
- Is there a connecting between Joseph being from the line of David and Jesus being born in Bethlehem? If so, how does that impact your view of the census being random?
- How might the story be different if Jesus was born in Nazareth instead of Bethlehem?
- What next steps will you take to embrace that Jesus was born for you personally?
There are plenty of other seemingly-random things surrounding the story of the first Christmas – shepherds, wise men, birth announcements, two babies – yet when those things are put together, they create a compelling picture of God’s involvement in a world that seems so random at times.
Today is Monday – make it a day where the seemingly-random things of life lead you to ponder and connect with the things of God.