Jesus is so well known as a historical person that it is a wonder there is still much dispute about Him. Why it is this way is because of His message; that He existed would be of no importance if it was not the message He preached. The life He lived was not an easy life, the words He spoke were not easily heard, but both accomplished was His mission.
Just before the Lord was born into this world, His parents were themselves on a mission. They knew, of course, that Mary was chosen of God to bring forth into the world One who would change the world. They did not understand, however, the jealousy and opposition that would be against Him, and by connection, against them. How could they!
After Joseph was given clarity to the tremendously perplexing situation he was facing (Matthew 1:18-23), he was called upon by Rome to register himself properly, along with his wife, in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-5). Coming from Nazareth, a distance of some 3 to 5 days journey (80-100 miles), as pregnant as Mary was, they both carried anxiety with them. Add to this burden another anxiety directly connected to jewish society. If it was understood that Mary was pregnant before her marriage to Joseph, then judgment could be very severe! Their anxiety was heightened.
They arrive in Bethlehem and were unable to find a guest room. This is not unexpected, being that Bethlehem was as small as it was. Bethlehem being small, travelers being many, rooms would have been few. Mary, at this time, was unable to wait any longer; the child in her womb was ready to come into the world—exactly as spoken by the prophet Micah (5:2). Jesus was resting in a feeding trough when Mary and Joseph are greeted by shepherds from the field (Luke 2:8-20).
Something so ordinary was not ordinary at all. While Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were resting quietly, the shepherds told of an amazing visit from the angels. Those shepherds had no real idea just how amazing the story and message of the baby in an animal’s feeding trough was really going to be. We do!