And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2)
It appears there were many people in Bethlehem during the time of the census of Caesar Augustus. Bethlehem was a relatively small town and the inn would indicate that this was a one pub town. If this was the case and all the rooms and beds in the town were taken, Joseph would have had to find an alternative warm dry place for them to shelter.
We are not told exactly how it was Joseph and Mary ended up in the stable. Many have put forward varying ideas about the inn and the stable and the detail in the story.
Suffice to say, even as a babe in his mother’s arms, the words of Jesus the man echo back in time:
Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head (Matthew 8:20)
No Room At The Inn Mahalia Jackson
When Mary and Joseph set out on their journey
They left Galilee, a new life to begin
They travelled all day and at night they grew weary
And so they sought rest in the Bethlehem Inn
There’s no room in the inn was the innkeeper’s answer
And he led them away to a stable near by
And there in a manger a miracle happened
The Christ child was born near a bright star on high