“And it came to pass…” It wasn’t until I had strapped my first child – all of two days old – into her car seat for the first time that I thought, “Wait, what sort of world did I just bring a child into?”
I’d spent a lot more time thinking about the baby, and given precious little thought to the state of this spinning blue space marble she’d have to live on. Certainly, the world Mary and Joseph brought Jesus into was a hot mess. Millions of people were in transit, heading home to add their names to the lists as decreed by Caesar Augustus. And this was not to be a smooth operation; teams of urban planners were not hard at work to ease the rising tide of people. The roads were clogged. Cities ran out of room. They ran out of food. Crime was a problem; sanitation was a problem. It was the Olympics, but without the Games, or Woodstock without the music.
I don’t know if Mary had the same thought: “What sort of world did I just bring a child into?” But she had reason to think it. Rome had always strived to remain a republic “of the people”. Now it was an empire ruled by one. Caesar consolidated power by throwing 100,000 soldiers at Mark Antony, who had 100,000 of his own. The “peace” that results from such cataclysms was not much better for the people. Inflation soared, taxes were high. Corruption was both political and moral alike. And no one was worried about a young girl, nursing a newborn, on the floor of barn. The world was concerned with other things.
“And it came to pass…” But Caesar’s time eventually passed. As did his empire, and the armies he ruled. The troubles of Mary’s day passed, and replaced themselves with new ones. The rolls of this great census decayed and moldered away. But the child almost no one noticed left its mark. And two thousand years later, He is still the greatest hope of this spinning blue space marble. Merry Christmas!