It is difficult to imagine a more humble beginning for a king than that of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem in a stable. He was born on the Feast of Trumpets, the 1st day of the seventh month in the Jewish calendar. The shepherds were watching their flocks on the night of his birth, so it could not have been winter as our December 25th dating suggests, because that would have been too cold for the sheep to be in the fields. They would have been corralled for the evening or even placed in a shelter, if it had been winter time.
In any case, there had to have been crowds of pilgrims in Jerusalem and surrounding communities at the time of Jesus’ birth, because there was no room for them in the inn which most likely was a synagogue which opened up its rooms to pilgrims visiting Jerusalem and the Temple at the time of her annual Holy Days. There were many synagogues in Jerusalem to accommodate the large number of pilgrims that travelled there for the Holy Days. If there was no room for Joseph and Mary, there had to have been a great influx of pilgrims into Jerusalem and into nearby communities like Bethany and Bethlehem. It can hardly be reasoned that a world census would have caused such a problem in Jerusalem, unless there were pilgrims there for other reasons, because the enrollment was held in each man’s own city—throughout the world. Only Joseph and Mary had to enroll in Bethlehem, because Herod kept a keen eye on anyone who claimed a right to David’s throne—even those who had no expectation of exercising that right.
Whatever the reason for the crowds of people in Judea, Joseph and Mary found a place to rest in a stable, perhaps one owned by the chief priests who provided the unblemished offerings for the pilgrims wanting to sacrifice at the Temple. It was here that the Creator of the universe would be born, implying his almighty power—even though he had left such divine power behind in order to take a human form upon himself. The humble birth implies almighty power in that it shows he did not need the power of this world to achieve his goals. Indeed, the powers of this world sought to destroy him, but he achieved his goals in spite of them and within the realm of man’s right to choose and even reject what is best for him.
Today, the name, Jesus, is the most recognized name of all time in the world, yet he was born in very humble surroundings. How was this possible, especially since we know he was crucified as a criminal and enemy of Rome, even though the Roman governor did not consider Jesus an enemy of Caesar? Certainly no other figure has achieved the importance in this world that Jesus holds in the hearts of his followers. No one’s name is so recognized, even among his enemies or those who don’t necessarily hate him but don’t appreciate his worth as their Savior. Who could claim such success, and who would ever believe such success could be achieved from such a humble birth and so ignominious a death?