Every Christmas when I was a kid, my church made me memorize and recite the words of Luke 2:1-20: “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree . . .” I droned out the words, counting the minutes until church was done and the present-opening extravaganza could begin.
But in my monotonous recitation, I missed something massively important—God does good things during bad days. Just think about the words in Luke’s account. “Those days” were hard days for God’s people. The Romans ruled with an iron fist. Tax collectors bled them dry. Herod the Great murdered anyone who looked at him the wrong way. Caesar Augustus, the first Roman emperor, considered himself divine, a son of the gods. He “issued a decree.” He demanded that humble men like Joseph take days off of work to travel and pay taxes to make Rome stronger and the rich richer.
In other words, those were bad days. And yet God was up to a good thing. The birth of the Savior. The start of Jesus’ perfect human life that would end in his innocent death, which would lead to an empty grave and the forgiveness of every one of your sins.
Remember that when the headlines tell you these are bad days. We have our own Herods and Caesars and decrees, as you know too well. But we also have a God who is at work through it all, working out his plans and purposes. Now that’s good news!