As a mother of four children, I well remember many nights that were anything but silent. The cries of a newborn suddenly awakened by pangs of hunger. The moans of a sick child who needed another dose of paracetamol. More recently, the voices of teenagers telling me about their day when they arrive home late at night.
During these nights I needed something else to break through the silence, and sometimes my fear, than the sounds of my children. I needed the good news of the gospel.
This same good news broke the silence of another mother’s night about two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, bringing great joy to all people.
Shortly after John the Baptist’s birth, Caesar Augustus pronounced a decree ‘that all the world should be registered’ for the purpose of taxation (Luke 2:1).
It was under Augustus’s rule that the phrase Pax Romana (‘Roman Peace’) was coined. But sadly, for all the peace that Augustus seemed to bring to the Roman Empire, he led the people away from true peace. He wanted others to see how great he was, not how great God is.