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December 24, 2018

Sermon: “The Census at Bethlehem”

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Scripture Lesson

The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honour. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world.

The Birth of Jesus
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

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Sermon Outline

Rev. Jonathan Swanson
“The Census at Bethlehem”
1 Samuel 2:7-8; Luke 2:1-7

I. Introduction: Peanuts
II. Pieter Bruegel (c. 1520-1569)
     A. Obscurity
     B. To Italy 1551-55
III. “The Census at Bethlehem” (1566, Brussels)
     A. The biblical story as a current event

     B. What do you see?
IV. What I see
     A. The diagonals
         1. Taxes as social commentary (Lk. 2:1)
         2. The other diagonal
     B. A miracle of reversal (1 Sam. 2:7-8)
     C. Mary and Joseph (Lk. 2:4-5)
     D. Life goes on
V. The messages
     A. An invitation to look carefully
     B. God is coming to set all things right
     C. God will raise us up
VI. Conclusion: “You Raise Me Up” (Graham, Løvland, 2002)


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