Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. (Luke 2)
In going to Bethlehem, Joseph was following the order of the government of the time. The Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, had ordered a census to be taken, and because Joseph was of the lineage of David, he had to travel to Bethlehem as that was where King David was from. It was therefore Joseph’s own town.
Again in the Old Testament we see God forewarned his people about what was to happen in the future as his salvation plan was being unfolded:
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. (Micah 5)
It is encouraging to note that God, in going about fulfilling his plan of salvation, used ‘little’ things and ‘little’ people of ‘little’ significance.
Joseph, although he had a very distinguished pedigree, was just a carpenter from Nazareth and Mary was just a young woman.
David was the youngest in a family of eight boys. When God told Samuel to anoint the one he had chosen to be king of Israel after Saul, Jesse’s sons from the eldest to the second youngest were paraded before Samuel, but God said:
Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Samuel 16)
Although David was handsome and ruddy and had beautiful eyes, he was the youngest son and a shepherd and shepherds were not very high on the social list in biblical times.
Then there was the town of Bethlehem: ‘too little to be among the clans of Judah.’ And yet this ‘little’ town was to grace one of the most significant events in the history of the world: the birth of the Saviour of the world.
O little town of Bethlehem Nat King Cole