The census ordered by César Augusto was the first of its kind. It was done because the Roman government wanted to make sure that everyone in the Empire was paying their taxes correctly.
The census was carried out throughout the Empire (most of Europe): but in Palestine, it was carried out in a Jewish rather than a Roman way. This meant that families had to register in their historic tribal city instead of where they lived. This also meant that Joseph and the very pregnant Maria would have had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, since this was the city from where Joseph’s family originally came (the royal family of David), a journey of approximately 70 miles (112 kilometers) ).
Some people think that Bethlehem could also have been Joseph’s real hometown and that he had traveled to Nazareth to pick up Mary once they were engaged / married to go to their hometown to live initially.
The trip would have lasted about three days and they might have arrived at night, because if they had arrived earlier, it is more likely that they would have found a place to stay.
At those times, there were no such things as motels or inns, usually he would have stayed with a relative or relative. A more accurate translation of ‘posada’ would be ‘guest room’. Normally he would stay with the extended family in his “guest room”, but since it was a busy hour, the guest room was already full.
Most of the houses would have been shared with the animals that the family had. The houses had two levels, the upper level / mezzanine where people slept and the ground floor where the animals slept at night and the family lived during the day. The animals were a kind of ‘central heating’ at night to keep the house warm! The ‘guest room’ was often an area on the upper level / mezzanine or even a cabin on the flat roof of the house.
As many people had traveled to Bethlehem for the census, all the houses, or indeed the upper levels, were full. Many people think that Jesus was probably born in September or October during Sukkot, the Jewish feast of Tabernacles, instead of during December. During the festival, the Jews live outside in temporary shelters (the word ‘tabernacle’ comes from a Latin word meaning ‘cabin’ or ‘cabin’).
So Jose and Maria probably had to sleep with the animals at the low level (where it is common to have a manger cut into a wall where animal feed is placed) or possibly (but it is unlikely) in a barn, a cave or even a cover. market stall that sold animals (these stalls could be rented during the tabernacles).
In those times, it was customary to wrap a newborn baby with long bandages called diapers. The arms and legs of the baby were also wrapped, so they could not move. This was done because they thought it helped the baby grow up with strong, straight tips! And since there was no suitable crib available, the new baby was placed in a manger or watering hole.
There is a theory that Jesus could have been born a couple of miles outside of Bethlehem, where there was a special watchtower for shepherds called Migdal Eder. So Jesus could have been born with the shepherds.
The birth of Jesus probably did not occur in year 0, but a little before, in about 4, 5, 6 or 7 BC / BC. The dates we use now were established by monks and religious leaders in the Middle Ages and before. It is also very probable that Jesus was really born in the autumn (during the Tabernacles), not in the winter! It can get very cold in the winter in Israel and it is thought that the census probably would have taken place during the spring or fall, at a time when many pilgrims, from all over the country, came to visit Jerusalem (which is approximately six miles from Belen).