“There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed,” by Louis A. Dole

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“There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” – Luke 2:1


Joel 3:1-17 · Luke 1:26-38 · Psalms 75, 76


At this time the thoughts of all in the Christian world are turned toward Christmas. The Advent of the Lord has a twofold meaning – its historical meaning and its spiritual meaning. Historically we celebrate an event which took place about twenty centuries ago, an event which was a turning point in the history of mankind. In the light of the spiritual meaning involved in the story of the Incarnation it is possible for us to understand what really happened. The Lord came into the world in human form that He might overcome evil and redeem mankind. It is this deliverance that the Advent season should mean for us. We should celebrate the real event rather than merely the outward manifestation. What we really should celebrate is the beginning of a Divine process by which evil was subjugated, the light of truth brought into the world, and spiritual freedom restored to man.

That process, begun with the Incarnation, was completed on the Lord’s part when His work on earth was finished. His birth was the dawn of a new day and was fittingly accompanied by angel songs. It is important for us to know the historical facts and to believe them, but these facts would have little meaning if it were not possible for the Lord to be born spiritually in the lives of men today. He came into the world never to leave it. He says, “Lo, I am with you alway,” fulfilling the words of the prophet: “His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.” The Gospel drama from the Nativity to the Resurrection must be reenacted in individual lives.

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