Some people may interpret this column as shameless politicization of
the Christmas story. I think of it as an effort to de-politicize a
beautiful and important truth distorted by the prism of modernity.
When I listen to Jesse Jackson and other misguided humanist prophets
use the story of Joseph, Mary and Jesus, it is often used as a segue
into their phony compassion for the “homeless.” You’ve heard them. They
tell us, with a straight face, that Joseph and Mary were poor, homeless
people. I’ve even seen Joseph and Mary described as “the first homeless
family.” That’s the message these charlatans derive from the Gospel.
They use this lie to justify more confiscation and redistribution of
wealth by government. What an irony when you consider the way the
Christmas story begins in the most familiar of the Gospel accounts.
Luke 2:1-6 (KJV) begins: “And it came to pass in those days, that
there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should
be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of
Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into
Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he
was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his
espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they
were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.”
Notice how many times the subject of taxes comes up in that first
section of the Christmas story. That was the reason that Joseph and Mary
were forced — and I use that word advisedly — to travel to Bethlehem
from their home in Nazareth, a rough journey of about 70 miles for a
young woman in her ninth month of pregnancy. They had to file their 1040
It ought to be referred to as “the Long March to Bethlehem,” because
of its familiarity with the forced population movements of so many
modern-day tyrannies. Jesus’ birth was marked by the first world tax.
The Roman Empire was ready, willing and able to coerce millions of
people throughout the world to battle the elements, to travel great
distances, regardless of their condition, so that they could be counted
and taxed. No excuses were tolerated. This was a government operation
all the way.
Joseph and Mary were not “homeless,” as the modern government
shakedown artists suggest.
Note the next verse: “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and
wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because
there was no room for them in the inn.”
Joseph was a carpenter, a working man, who had money for a room at
the inn in Bethlehem. It’s just that there were no vacancies due to the
overcrowding conditions caused by this forced population relocation.
Government is not your friend. It is the enemy of freedom. Government
is not Santa Claus. It is the Grinch. Government is not your servant. It
tends, all too often, to be our master. Government seldom helps people.
It often enslaves them.
Even back then, 2,000 years ago, government was heartless and cruel.
It forced women to march long distances in the last stages of pregnancy.
That’s the way government has always been and that’s the way it will
always be — at least until Jesus comes again.
By the way, I think it’s interesting that it was the first global tax
that precipitated the Savior’s first coming. The world, it seems,
through the auspices of the United Nations, is on the verge of imposing
only the second worldwide tax. Might history repeat itself? Might God
use this extraordinarily oppressive and onerous idea as the stage-setter
for His dramatic return?
If so, it will once again prove the truth of another scripture —
Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
So, “Don’t be afraid,” as the angel told the shepherds that night in
Bethlehem. There is good news in this season of joy. Truth is truth.
Light is light. And God, not Caesar, is still on the throne.