[A census was called]…Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guesthouse.
The night of Christ’s birth is something of a legend. We picture pregnant Mary scampering to Bethlehem in the midnight darkness, not making it in time before baby Jesus emerges. There’s no room in the only inn in town, the parents will have to make do with the stable out back. Sounds lowly and simple, but most of it is probably a myth.
There’s no indication the trio were late, nor that they had to stop at an inn. In fact, the word “inn” is more of a church tradition than what the verse says. We picture a motel on the side of the road. Chances are, that first Christmas was spent just like your own—with family and friends noisily filling the space. There wasn’t any room in the guesthouse, because the extended family was all in town for the census. The only quiet place for young Mary to give birth was outside where the animals were kept.
The birth of Jesus was indeed simple. He laid in manger, probably of straw, among the animals and family.
Reflect on your own Christmas chaos and know that “first” Christmas probably looked and sounded a lot like your own homes filled with chaos and memories.