- Too young - Mary was of too young an age to have been engaging in marital relations with Joseph, and therefore would not have been able to conceive.
- Too old - Elizabeth was too old to be carrying and child and had been barren her whole life
- Too far - the prophets told of the Messiah being born in Bethlehem, but Mary & Joseph were living no where close to there.
- Too crowded - Joseph could find no place suitable for his family to stay and for the birth of the child.
And yet, Mary did bear a child, born of the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth, too, bore a child who would prepare the way of the Lord. And who but God could arrange such a timely census which would bring the gestating Messiah to the proper place? Joseph may have felt he was "settling" for second or third best by bunking in a stable. But God ordained that birth place and took note of it for the angels to proclaim on high. Proving once again that he excels in the unlikely and the miraculous. Proving that he is indeed mighty, sovereign, glorious. This Christmas season, like no other, I need to know this. I need to know that I serve and worship and surrender to a god like that; the Old Testament calls him El Shaddai. I call him "Father". Thank you Lord for humbling yourself into the body of a helpless, frail, and vulnerable baby and subjecting yourself to the hardships of this sin-infested world. All so that we may know you through your suffering and death. Immanuel --"God with us".