~~ Fulfilling Prophecies Requires Effort ~~
Joseph was descended from the house and family of David. To fulfill the prophecy, Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem. The problem is that Jesus of Nazareth was from...Nazareth. The Gospels have to go to great lengths to get him to Bethlehem. The Gospel of Luke (Luke 2:1-7) tells us that Joseph and Mary were residents of Nazareth and that Caesar Augustus ordered a census for taxation purposes while Quirinius was governor of Syria. People of the region were apparently required to go back to their ancestral hometowns to be registered. To fulfill the Jewish prophecy, the savior would be "of the house and lineage of David". The problem is that we have quite good documentation about the reign of Caesar Augustus and no such census ever took place under those circumstances. Compounding the problem is the bizarre claim that everyone had to register in their ancestral hometown. What census have you ever heard of that requires people to go to their ancestral homes? King David, if he existed, lived a thousand years earlier! Would you even know who your ancestors were from 1,000 years ago and where they lived? If not, why would it be more plausible for an ancient people to know this? It was not common for a Roman census to force people back to their ancestral hometowns, nor is there any historical evidence that a Roman-controlled census would cover anyone beyond Roman citizens. Try and imagine the sheer chaos that would result with this type of mass migration and at the same time recognize the fact that not a single historian thought it significant enough to jot down a few words about it.
In fact, there is no reason to believe in any of the story of the nativity particularly because none of the Gospels agree with each other. For example, the Gospel of Matthew says that the birth occurred just after the reign of Herod the Great who died in 4 BC. There's a decade difference between Herod and the census from 6/7! If we read the Gospels as they are written, we can't dismiss the conflicts. At no point did the authors of Luke or Matthew ever make the claim that the Nativity of Jesus was told to anyone directly by either Mary or Joseph themselves. These aren't direct accounts and the conflicts make it awfully hard to believe that the story of the nativity has any hint of truth to it.
A rather obvious yet frequently overlooked question is: what is the relevance of Joseph's lineage anyway? In neither Luke's nor Matthew's Gospel is Joseph a blood relative of Jesus. The genealogical accounts of Joseph provided by Luke and Matthew are quite different and the discrepancies and contradictions are just as easily verifiable as they are troublesome. This leads many of the faithful to assume that one of the accounts "must have" been about Mary's lineage instead. Anyone who gives weight to that theory must abandon the fact that both Gospels are rather explicit that they are talking about Joseph's lineage. Another rather obvious yet overlooked portion of the narrative deals with the Star of Bethlehem in which Matthew's account has it guiding the Magi (wise men) the rather short distance from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Mark's Gospel, the earliest one, never seems to mention this guiding star nor does any other Gospel. When the Magi visit Jesus sometime after his presentation in the Temple of Jerusalem, they visit him in a house. Unlike popular portrayals, Jesus would likely have been around the age of two when the wise men visited. Whether born in a manger, cave, barn, stable, or inn, why is Jesus still in Bethlehem living in a house? If you recall, they are only in Bethlehem for the census. Whose house is this that he's living in? The Bible never says.
In the interest of calling a spade a spade, the infancy narrative is likely an outright fabrication. At no point does it appear to be based upon historical facts. This is not just problematic; it is corrosive to the Christian faith because the promised Messiah had to be a descendant of King David and would have to fulfill all of the prophecies. If Jesus fails in fulfilling the prophecies, he would then be a false Messiah. This is why pious accounts like Matthew and modern-day Christian scholars have to go to great lengths to explain away such obvious contradictions.