Born in Bethlehem
The emperor, Caesar Augustus, sent an order for everyone in the empire to be counted for taxes. If they weren’t in the city where their family was from, they needed to return there to be taxed. So Joseph and Mary traveled from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea, almost 100 miles away, to be counted and pay taxes there. This long trip was even more difficult because Mary was about to have the baby. When they got there, they looked for a place to stay, but even though Mary was “great with child” they couldn’t get a room at the inn. But they did find a place to rest, a place where Mary could have the baby.
Many writers have tried to describe the place where Jesus was born. Some have talked about a stable, a place like a barn, where animals may have been. All we really know from the Bible is that when Mary laid the baby down, she placed Him in a manger, a box made for holding hay for animals to eat. We do know they were not in a comfortable building. It may have been a stable or maybe it was nothing more than a campsite. It was a very humble place for the Son of God to be born, but it was a suitable place for Mary and Joseph to care for the special Child in His first days.
What do you think?
- What were some of the reasons that traveling was difficult at this time for Joseph and Mary?
- Why couldn’t they find a more comfortable place for Mary to have her baby?
- Do you think that some people who did not help them find a nice place were later sorry they did not help?
- Do we sometimes feel bad we didn’t help when we could have?
- How can we remember to always make room for Jesus in our lives?
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