Lord God I pray today for police officers as they go about their duties. Protect them from harm, and help them to keep calm in all situations. Bless their loved ones waiting at home, fearful of what might happen to them. Help them to cherish each other. In Jesus’ name I ask it. AMEN.
Lord, I thank you today for my parents, for all the sacrifices they made for me, the way they brought me up, and the example they set. Forgive me for not having been more appreciative when I was younger. And make me a good Christian parent, I pray. AMEN.
Lord God, if at any time today I feel afraid, give me new courage and the sense that you are close. If I am tempted to do wrong or to say a hasty word, hold me back. If I am inclined to judge another person harshly, stop me from doing it. Help me to live like Jesus. In his name. AMEN.
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world… So Joseph went up … to Judea, to Bethlehem”.
Luke 2:1, 4 NIV
In ancient times the gods of the nations had all manner of origins. Many of them were personified features of nature – one of the Egyptians gods was a hawk. Then many were imaginary characters from myths who were really fictional copies of human beings – with human faults and failures. Some were merely projections of people’s wishes – the fertility gods and goddesses of the Canaanites were objects of sexual desire, supporting the “ministry” of the sacred prostitutes at the “high places” we read of in the Old Testament.
Joseph made the trek from Nazareth in the north of Israel to Bethlehem in the south, a distance of about seventy miles. But Luke is careful to emphasize that Joseph’s visit was in conformity with an Empire-wide order from the Emperor in Rome. Luke was saying, “Jesus was born in a real-life historical situation to which all humans in the Roman Empire were subject. He was not ‘cooked up’ or a figment of human imagination like the gods of many nations. He was subject to rulers, laws, edicts and decrees, some of them good and some bad. It was at a point in human history that can be checked, verified and proved”.
It is his entry into the world of “all sorts and conditions of men” that we celebrate at Christmas. He became a real man in a real world with power politics, human migration, human problems and human possibilities, hopes and fears. He did not come to take us out on a euphoric escape trip. He was God’s salvation in God’s real world. He still is.
Lord, thank you for entering my world with real salvation.
(Note that should you have multiple beneficiaries the funds raised will be split between them. You may have up to a maximum of three beneficiaries.)