In our passage today, one might be tempted to think that all we have is some background information, but that is not the whole truth. It is true that Luke described how what is about to take place is because of a census that Caesar Augustus decreed to be taken of the whole Roman world (Luke 2:1). It was a census that demanded that everyone travel to his own city so Joseph takes Mary and they head for Bethlehem, Joseph’s ancestral home. And Joseph was a son of David, who was born in Bethlehem. Luke is alerting us that the birth of the Messiah, which is described for us in the previous chapter and whom Micah declared would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), was lining up. God is a God who keeps his promises.
Luke then quietly records the birth of the Messiah, in a tender manner. He writes,
6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.
7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:6-7).
And where was the Messiah, the king of Israel and the savior of the world born? In a smelly, dirty cattle trough. Truly he “did not regard equality with God of thing to be held on to, but humbled himself.” That’s our God. And he is our example.