And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.... And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1,4-7)
I am thrilled when I read this simple, historically accurate passage with tremendous spiritual truth behind it. Caesar Augustus attempted to make himself a god. He wanted to be worshiped. He signed a tax bill which caused a woman and man, peasants, living in Nazareth, to journey to Bethlehem to enroll. That woman was carrying in her womb the Son of God! This is tremendous! Caesar Augustus tried to make himself God, but nobody today reverences him or pays taxes to him. But that little baby in Mary's womb — many of us worship Him today and call Him our Savior.
Dr. Luke gets right down to the little human details in this passage. He is saying that Mary put swaddling clothes on this little child — baby clothes and diapers on the Son of God! How perfectly human He was — God manifest in the flesh!
Many people ask the question, "When was Jesus Christ born?" It could not have been in the dead of winter or the shepherds would not have been out at night with their sheep. But the date of His birth is irrelevant, just as the day upon which He was crucified is irrelevant. The Scripture does not say when He was born; the important thing is that He was born. The Scripture does not say when He was crucified; the important thing is that He died for our sins.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:9-11)
It is wonderful to see a little baby come into the world, and your heart goes out to him; there is a sympathy that goes from you to him. That is the way God entered the world. He could have entered — as He will when He comes to earth the second time — in power and great glory. Instead, He came in the weakest way possible, as a baby. He did not lay aside His deity; He laid aside His glory. There should have been more than just a few shepherds and angels to welcome Him — all of creation should have been there.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12)
Again Dr. Luke is emphasizing His humanity. He came into this world as a human being. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. God knows about mankind. He knows you, and He knows me. He understands us because He came into this world a human being. This also means that we can know something about God, because He took upon Himself our humanity.
—From Edited Messages on Luke by J. Vernon McGee