Via the Development Research Institute at New York University, “Happy Holidays to Ordinary People”:
Cyrenius, the governor of Syria, was excited about the new regional development plan he had prepared for the area covering Syria, Galilee, and Judea. Cyrenius had already ascended rapidly through the Roman bureaucracy, but he expected this new program meeting the Roman Development Goals to make his name. Caesar Augustus had even agreed to raise taxes to pay for the development plan.
Everyone went to their places of birth to register and pay taxes. Mary was a peasant espoused to a carpenter named Joseph from Nazareth, even though she was already pregnant. Mary and Joseph went to their birthplace of Bethlehem. The innkeeper took one look at the rough carpenter and the very pregnant Mary and told them there were no rooms left. He reluctantly agreed to let them sleep in the stable with the animals, where Mary went into labor.
Cyrenius’ name did end up in one of history’s most read books, but not for the reason he expected. The newborn baby was going to be a little more famous than Cyrenius, even more than Caesar Augustus.
Regardless of religious beliefs, many would agree it is a great story. Perhaps rulers and elites at the top should not take themselves so seriously, because some of the biggest changes in history can come from what appear to be just really ordinary people.