"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world..."
Advent is a very beautiful time in the Christian liturgical year. It is the time of waiting for joy. It begins in solemnity, in quiet music and in readings about the Promise. It's a Promise that no one understood before it happened; even after, we can contemplate for a lifetime what it means and only see a glimmer. God had promised to set things right. People imagined an emissary, a righteous leader, a king. No one dreamed that He would come Himself to do it, and come in utter humility, and set it right the way he did.
Chesterton wrote that this story of His birth will be told as long as man exists. It is the most beautiful and astonishing story ever told, even more beautiful and astonishing because it is true.
It changed humanity, and sanctified us, and still does.