Luke 2 : 1 - 7
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Today I want to focus on the last part of the last verse - because there was no room for them in the inn. This was something that was evident as Joseph and Mary traveled closer and and closer to Bethlehem. The dirt road that I picture them traveling on started to get more and more crowded, as everyone was heading to their family town. And once they got inside the city, the craziness of the crowds and the census being taken must have been overwhelming. And when Mary realized that the baby was coming and she was in labor, Joseph must have panicked. The Bible doesn't give us a lot of information on Jesus' birth, but I am sure that when Joseph started asking around for lodging, someone took compassion and found them something. The stable was at least private and quiet. Mary could have the baby and they would be warm and dry. It was a strange way to come in to the world, but it was God's way.
We often view God's ways as strange the first time we see them. But if we step back and see the big picture, it always is the best way, isn't it?
When Allie was 5 or 6, we went up the the Preble County Fair Grounds to go through a live version of Bethlehem. It was a long walk and a lot of waiting in lines. When we finally made it to Bethlehem, we saw Herod, guards, a lot of villagers who were selling their wares, and we even signed the census. Going through Bethlehem this way gave all of us who went a better understanding of how crowded and busy the town was. As we talked with the villagers and learned how the rumors of a baby being born in a stable on the outskirts of the town were running, we started to wind our way out. Allie went on ahead, wondering what was next. But she came running back, hollering to my dad, "Grandpa! Grandpa! I found Baby Jesus!" She was so excited in her child-like wonder, that there really was the Baby just as the story has always been told to her. I hope that this Christmas, you find Baby Jesus too!