The God Tax at Christmas and the Fiscal Cliff


The Birth of Jesus


The relationship between faith and politics has always been the subject of great, and heated, debate.

Is it better for the two worlds to co-exist with as little contact as possible?  Should they join hands and attempt to shape the world in accordance with a religious world view? Should religion take precedence over the affairs of the state?  Should the Bible be the law book in “Christian” countries?

Does God intervene in the affairs of human beings? Or is God high on a throne, a watchmaker who designed the world, wound the spring and took his hands off it?

Enter the story of Christ’s birth.

Or what I have called in this blog the God Tax. The gospel of Luke begins the Christmas story like this.

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 Quirinius 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 Judea, 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.

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.

According to prophecy, the Messiah, the chosen deliverer of the children of Israel, was to originate from the small town of Bethlehem. But Mary and Joseph did not live there.

They were only in Bethlehem because a Roman emperor issued a tax.

So, did God use Caesar’s tax edict to set the wheels in motion so that Jesus would enter the world in a town foreign to him?

Raises some interesting questions, doesn’t it?

I wonder what God has in mind about the fiscal cliff?

(Stephen Woodfin is an attorney and author of legal thrillers. Several of his novels address the relationship of faith and politics in twenty-first century America.  To visit his Amazon author page, please click here.)


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