Observe the contrast between the real and the apparent importance of the Birth of Christ. To human sense, the event which took place at Bethlehem may well have seemed at the time commonplace enough. An Infant was born under circumstances of hardship; in a wayside stable. To those who did not look closely into the circumstances, it might have occurred that a like event had often happened before, and would often be repeated. Everybody did not hear the song of the Angels, or mark the bearing of the Virgin-Mother and of her saintly spouse. The Kingdom of God had entered into his history, but certainly "not with observation." Nay, more, even among the worshippers of Christ the full meaning of His Birth, as opening a new era in the history of the human race, was not at once practically appreciated.
So it has been ever since; so it is at this hour. Real importance is one thing, apparent importance another. The events which move the world are not always those which men think most noteworthy. The men who most deeply influence their fellows are not those of whom everybody is talking. The currents of thoughts and feeling which will shape the future are not those which are welcomed by the organs and interpreters of current opinion. When Christ appeared, the Palace of the Caesar seemed to be more likely to govern the destinies of mankind than the Manger of Bethlehem. No, brethren, depend on it, the apparent is not always, or even generally, the real.
H.P. Liddon, "Born of a Virgin" (sermon)