Mary and Joseph wondered if, like the conception, the birth of Jesus would also have a miraculous character. The "in pain you will give birth" of Genesis was a consequence of original sin. However, He is the Son of God! But He is also the son of Adam and Eve... One aspect worried Mary: the midwives of Nazareth would intervene in the birth. They could steal her secret. She was a virgin: she had not had sexual relations with a man. They could get to know beforehand the divine origin of the Child. But without the capacity to understand it, without being called to it by God. She would have felt violated in her intimacy.
The midwives already intended to intervene to give birth to that Child everyone was talking about, intending to be the first to investigate the similarities and dissimilarities with Joseph, and perhaps find the similarities with someone else they suspected. "Let us wait. Let us pray," Joseph suggested, "God will help us, as He has done so far."
And then came the news of the empire's census. A woman about to give birth was not obliged to make a two-hundred-kilometer trip to register. She could have gone later, or even given up. But talking and praying, Mary and Joseph understood that the census was God's answer: it gave them the opportunity to get away from Nazareth: "Let's go!". They decided together. For Mary, it was worth the effort at stake. They remembered Micah's prophecy: the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem! They were moved: Bethlehem was the land of David, from whom Jesus was descended. "Everything is coming back!". Joseph was confident: "It is my homeland, there are many relatives of my father. They will help us."
They made the accounts without the host. The Nazarenes renewed their criticism, saying that it was dangerous to make a long journey before giving birth, and that to run such a risk to obey the Romans was out of place; moreover, to the land of David, who was punished by God for taking a census.
They did the math even without the Bethlehemites. The arrival of a woman about to give birth seemed strange to them. They did not want complications with blood, which made them unclean. And some murmuring had reached them from Nazareth. Joseph and Mary found themselves rejected. No one helped them, initially.
Only at the end did Joseph find such housing for the animals. They were happy, because they were alone. But with a lot of inconveniences. They supported each other. No blame was exchanged. The light of the Child enveloped them. Warned by the angels came the shepherds, considered by all as sinners, for it was their fault that the Messiah had not yet come. They understood that their Son had wanted to be born among the excluded, the impure.
Homily on the readings of the Nativity of the Lord
The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaa small one-minute reflection for these readings.