Luke 2:1-7
  "The Context of Christ's Coming"

As we continue through Luke we come to the story of Jesus' birth.  What we discover, if we read our text closely, is that Jesus' arrival comes in the midst of circumstances that were far from ideal.  Caesar Augustus is ruler of the empire, a census forced Jesus' parents to relocate, and due to overcrowding in Bethlehem, they find themselves living in a setting normally used by animals.  The point we shouldn't miss is that difficult circumstances are not evidence of God's absence.  Rather, God in Christ, enters into the midst of the mess.  He did so 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, and he does so today, entering into our lives in the midst of the difficulties, the brokenness and the messiness of our lives.