I was typing lyrics for the concert
program, and it occurred to me to wonder why there was a
run on hotel rooms in Bethlehem, before Christmas was a
generally celebrated holiday. The only explanation in the Bible
is that the decree had gone forth from Caesar Augustus that all
the world should be taxed, and everybody had to go the place
their family came from.
This presumably caused a run on hotels lots of places, since
lots of people’s family came from somewhere they didn’t still
live. But Bethlehem was probably worse, because it the classiest place
to claim that your family came from. So even though you
presumably had the usual 4 grandparents and 8
great-grandparents…, you picked the one with the most eminent
lineage to claim. In Joseph’s case, this would have been King
David, who was from Bethlehem. Everyone else with any claim to
David would have picked him, too; hence no room at the inn.
A related note that didn’t occur to me until some time after my
Catholic education had finished is that the lineage at the
beginning of the Gospel of Matthew is Joseph’s, so the story
that comes next
about how Joseph had nothing to do with Jesus’ conception is
even odder than it appears in isolation from the geneology.