We expect certain things of the familiar nativity. A good, kindly, but ultimately incompetent Joseph, who only manages to get Mary to Bethlehem as she goes into labour. A town-full of harassed inn-keepers whose rooms are all taken; and one who eventually takes pity and lets the holy family shack up in the stable round the back. And yet the story confounds our expectations. According to Luke’s Gospel, Mary and Joseph are guests in a family home, and, because there is not enough room in the guest room for Mary to give birth, attended as she would have been by other women, Jesus was born in the main room shared at night by the family and their animals, and laid to rest in the safe, contained bowl of the animals food trough. According to Church tradition, Joseph was an older widower, who took Mary as his ward; already the father of children by his first wife, or possibly having adopted the orphan children of his brother; in which case there were likely several other children crowding round, some perhaps old enough to be of some help, others underfoot. One way or another, expect to have your expectations shaken, as God breaks in again.