Jesus had been conceived of the Holy Spirit in Nazareth, home to Joseph and Mary, and it would have been there, in all likelihood, where one would have expected him to be born. God, however, had a different plan, and his prophets had foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem of Judah, the City of David.
That the prophecy might be fulfilled, God made use of a means that seemed to bear no relation to his purpose; namely, a decree issued by Caesar Augustus that all subjects of the Roman Empire should be registered in their place of origin. Mary and Joseph, being descendants of David, were required to travel to Bethlehem. Neither the Blessed Virgin’s condition, nor Joseph’s need for daily work to provide for his growing family, exempted them from taking this long and difficult journey during the harshest season of the year.
Jesus, who was not ignorant of the place in which He was destined to be born, inspired his holy parents to trust themselves to Divine Providence, that by obeying the emperor’s decree they might unconsciously further the accomplishment of God’s designs. Observe, faithful souls, how the Divine Child guides them, for it is of utmost importance to the spiritual life. Understand that those who have given themselves to God must no longer belong to themselves, must desire nothing that God does not desire, must follow Him with perfect trust, even allowing themselves to be led to whatever place He wishes. There will be plenty of opportunities to see such perfect dependence and fidelity modeled throughout the life of Jesus Christ, this being the fundamental disposition which in Him all saints and all truly devoted souls have striven to imitate, renouncing absolutely to their private wills.