Luke places the birth of Christ in history, telling us that it happened when Caesar Augustus had ordered a census of the whole world. Joseph and Mary were subjects of the Empire, and so they had to obey the Emperor’s command and travel to Bethlehem to be registered, even though Mary was close to the birth of her child and they could find no room at the inn. The Son of God was born into a family who were poor and powerless.
The first people to hear the news of the birth of Christ were shepherds – rough men doing a rough job – living in the fields with their sheep. Jesus, the Saviour of the whole human race, would spend his life among the poor and the outsiders.
Pope Francis has reminded us that the birth of Jesus Christ is good news for people of all nations. There are many things in the world that divide us from one another, and the pandemic has, in some ways, deepened our divisions. But Jesus comes to unite us. Whether we are rich or poor, old or young, black or white, we are called to come together and worship the Son of God, born in the stable at Bethlehem.