They Traveled to Bethlehem...to the Gathering.
It was taxes that drew them 'gathering' in Bethlehem. Each man had to return to his home town for the payment of taxes.
Joseph took Mary there, carefully traveling with her on a donkey as they went from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It would have taken them five to seven days to arrive there, so they were well on their way to Bethlehem on the timeline of Christmas Eve and Jesus' birth.
Again though, it was a gathering, a returning home.
Keep this close at heart this day... as you prepare for the 'gathering' and the return home.
Words of my heart, Laurie
"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea,
to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and
line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child." Luke 2:1-5