William Easterly puts the power of Christmas in perspective:
Caesar Augustus was the greatest Emperor of the greatest Empire. He could force the whole population to move back to their ancestors’ villages just to pay their taxes. Herod was governor of Judea, a backward province that Caesar likely paid little or no attention. Herod could order a massacre of all children under the age of two in Bethlehem, without having to appear before the International Criminal Court.
Yet history would later show that the most powerful person in the world that night was a newborn infant, conceived out of wedlock to a peasant girl, born in a manger.
Is this story of any interest to non-Christians? Is it historically accurate? I don’t know, but I think it’s a great story. It’s a story of transformative power that comes not from the Palace up above, but from the Manger down below.