In our scripture lesson for this week, Joseph and Mary were not only getting ready for the birth of Jesus, they were getting ready to register for the census. The writer of the Gospel of Luke wants us to know why Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It wasn’t that Joseph and Mary had decided to visit friends or family in Bethlehem. It wasn’t that they were just planning to visit Jerusalem and the baby decided to come while they were in Bethlehem, just five miles from Jerusalem. It wasn’t even that they wanted to be in Bethlehem.
No, they were in Bethlehem because they were required to go there in spite of the fact that Mary was well into her pregnancy. They had to go to be registered for the census. Now, it may not have been necessary for Mary to accompany Joseph, but she may have felt that it was important.
Can you imagine taking a journey of at least 70 miles, on foot. That would be like walking to Orlando. It would not be done in a day or two and with a woman ready to give birth, it would not be done in several days. It would not be quick or easy.
Ready or not, it became apparent that Jesus was ready to enter into this world. And, the rest is history.