Don’t expect a joke about the lack of room at the inns. Leave it to the government to require everyone to show up in their hometowns on the same weekend for the census, without paying any attention to demography and inter-city migration statistics. Cæsar Augustus was famously bad with math, but it’s hard to blame him for not wanting to do a population analysis with elements like Nazareth, pop., CCCCVIII, III.IX% immigrants, birthrate VI children per feminā, outmigration ∴%per annum. (This efficiency—and math!—coming soon to your health care.)
So you end up with Bethlehem’s 28 hotel rooms trying to serve the 380 native Bethlehemanians (what they like to be called—who knew?) who lived elsewhere. The innkeeper—his name is Lazar, incidentally—has gotten a bad rap. He gave those crazy kids his stable for free. He could have probably gotten at least a dupondius or sestarius per night.
Luckily, GorT managed to back-book us some rooms at an inn on the Damascus road. GorT, Volgi, and the Czar got decent accommodations—though for GorT that means “a dry vertical space, foolish meatbags.” He ended up in a granary. He spoke highly of it.
The Mandarin could have had a room, too, but as he is wont to do, booked the wrong day, lost his deposit, and had to crash with the Czar. ’Puter, of course, wound up spending the night a Samaritan’s pig wallow, but that was purely his decision.
How did it work out? Well, ok. The BVM was a cutie, the baby was gorgeous, and Joseph an upright man. A little too upright. Turns out the Holy Family didn’t have a lot of use for ensorceled jade, black powder, and hemlock. Confucius still has bruises on his temple from a carpenter’s square.