The history of every ancient nation ends, and the history of every modern nation begins, with Rome. Under Caesar Augustus the Pax Romana (Roman Peace) began. This is a period of a little over 200 years (30 B.C. – 180 A.D) of peace and prosperity. The rights of people and property were protected. The conquered nations, though they had much they could complain about, “enjoyed greater security against domestic feuds and foreign invasion, a larger share of social comfort, and rose to a higher degree of secular civilization. The ends of the empire were brought into military, commercial, and literary communication by carefully constructed roads, the traces of which still exist in Syria, on the Alps, on the banks of the Rhine. The facilities and security of travel were greater in the reign of the Caesars than in any subsequent period before the nineteenth century. Five main lines went out from Rome to the extremities of the empire, and were connected at seaports with maritime routes. ‘We may travel,’ says a Roman writer, ‘at all hours, and sail from east to west.’”
Jesus Christ came into the world under Caesar Augustus, the first Roman emperor, before the death of king Herod the Great, four years before the traditional date of our Dionysian era. He was born at Bethlehem of Judaea, in the royal line of David, from Mary…The world was at peace, and the gates of Janus were closed for only the second time in the history of Rome.
There is a poetic and moral fitness in this coincidence: it secured a hearing for the gentle message of peace which might have been drowned in the passions of war and the clamor of arms. Angels from heaven proclaimed the good tidings of his birth with songs of praise; Jewish shepherds from the neighboring fields, and heathen sages from the far east greeted the newborn king and Savior with the homage of believing hearts. Heaven and earth gathered in joyful adoration around the Christ-child, and the blessing of this event is renewed from year to year among high and low, rich and poor, old and young, throughout the civilized world.
This Christmas, let us thank the God who arranged the world thus so we can adore His Son who was “born to raise the sons of earth.”