Jesus, Just in Time
I love to consider God's perfect control over the things which He must see accomplished. It was so in the birth of Jesus. A Roman emperor had to declare a census at just the right time. The one in power was perfect for the assignment. He was in love with his own glory and took special delight in collecting numbers on the resources and people within his grasp.
When the people of God heard of this command to be numbered in the places of their birth, they made special protest. 'The travel required would throw the whole territory into turmoil and would suspend all commercial endeavour! Why not allow the registration in the places of current residence?'
A special delegation of Jews traveled to the centre of the Empire to make protest. Implementation of the census was delayed accordingly, so that the protest might be heard and considered.
Meanwhile the child in the womb of little Mary of Nazareth is coming to full term.
She is betrothed to Joseph the carpenter, of the lineage of David and the tribe of Judah. A wedding has taken place in spite of the embarrassment of the early pregnancy. God has comforted Joseph in a dream, and Joseph is a Hebrew of such spiritual sensitivity that he discerns the dream correctly.
Disappointing news upon the delegation's return. Now the whole society must hit the road; and Joseph and Mary must travel to Bethlehem. Just as prophesied in Micah 5:2.
Motion pictures have adequately portrayed to us the painful trek, the panic in the over-crowded City of David, the loneliness and humility of the young couple, the stalwart courage of the teenager in labour and the ultimate relief and faith-boost in the securing of lodging among the gentle beasts. The moment of arrival of the new life in the film "The Nativity Story" is awe-inspiring.
Consider the control of our Heavenly Father in all of this; with empires and egotists; with diplomacy; with conditions on the road; with a young tradesman and his bride.
And a precious babe arrives in the right place at the right time...
"Let Earth receive her King."