Christmas Countdown Day 12 focused on the census. As part of a worldwide Roman census, Joseph took Mary, now great with child, on a road trip to Bethlehem. They were two in the midst of thousands upon thousands traveling across the countryside to obey the law that they be counted. As they passed through the crowds, trying to get to Joseph’s hometown, they must have felt small, unimportant and alone. Like trying to find a marble in the midst of a jar of rice, they were sifted as they made their way to a town where, as it turns out, every door was closed to them except a dirty stable. Though they may have felt like just a number to the Roman empire, they were the two counted and chosen by God to be His One and Only Son’s earthly parents. We count, just as Mary and Joseph did, in God’s eyes. We are not a number in all of humanity, we are his precious children. Tonight we made census jars. We dyed rice green, let it dry, and filled baby food jars. Then we placed four marbles, representing our family, into the jar, sealed it, and shook it up. We imagined what it was like for Mary and Joseph to travel across the country to Bethlehem, feeling like two in the midst of so many. We thanked God for seeing them and taking care of them, and for loving us that way, too. Then, we found the marbles in our jars by shifting the rice around.
Scripture Crumb from Leviticus 22:31-33
You are to keep My commands and do them; I am Yahweh. You must not profane My holy name; I must be treated as holy among the Israelites. I am Yahweh who sets you apart, the One who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God; I am Yahweh.
Over and over in the book of Leviticus, God reminds His people – I am your God. I rescued you. I set you apart. Obey me. Follow my commands. Be holy.
In this passage, God emphasizes that I must not profane His holy name. The people of Israel honored God’s name by obeying the law and reverencing Him in worship through proper sacrifice. They were God’s chosen people and were to act like it.
I’ve been chosen, too. God has rescued me – from myself, from my sin and from an empty future of no consequence. I bear His name as His daughter – Christian. I must not profane His holy name.
I must not accept what God says is unacceptable. I must do what He says, even if it is completely contradictory to what the world around me practices. I must continually work to have a right relationship with my God, following His plan of grace in my life.
Lord, purify my heart, my mind and my attitude. Give me your vision so I may distinguish between right and wrong, according to Your standards. Thank you for sending Jesus as the perfect sacrifice to atone for my sins. Help me to practice extending Your forgiveness and hope to those around me. Amen.