4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Thoughts: It is haunting- to think that there was no guest room available for them. It is haunting to us that the Creator of all that we see- who made every space and room- was forced away- forced out into the cold. Hospitality has always been a part of the Judeo-Christian message. Abraham was hospitable to three stangers- and entertained angels unawares (Heb. 13:2). Christ came that we might be welcomed into heaven and we did not welcome Him. On a cold winter's day, let us seek to be hospitable to those we meet, and even go out of our way to bring someone in from the cold spiritually or physically.
Thoughts: Help me to remember those in need. We remember you, who had no needs, became needy that we might respond to you, and you to us.
John Calvin Abridged: We see here not only the poverty of Joseph- but the tyranny of a government that would make a woman travel pregnant at an inconvenient time, not allowing any excuses. Joseph was not devoid of feeling, but was forced to yield to the government and entrust his wife's care to God. We also see what kind of beginning the Son of God had on this earth, and in what kind of cradle he was placed. His condition was such because he emptied himself (Phil. 2:7) for our sake. When he was thrown into a stable and a manger, it was that heaven would be opened to us- not as a temporary lodging, but as an eternal home- where the angels welcome us to their eternal dwelling.