The emperor and the innkeeper both played their part in God's plan without knowing it. The emperor's edict brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem in fulfillment of prophecy (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:5-6). And the innkeeper, by reason of overcrowding in the town, ensured that the Savior of the world was born appropriately not in a palace but a stable, not in splendor but in obscurity and poverty.
"Virgin birth" is a misleading expression, suggesting that there was something unusual about Jesus's birth, whereas his birth was entirely normal and natural. It was his conception that was abnormal, indeed supernatural, for he was conceived by the operation of the Holy Spirit, without the cooperation of a human father.
"The first and most indisputable fact about the birth of Jesus," wrote Bishop John A. T. Robinson, "is that it occurred out of wedlock. The one option for which there is no evidence is that Jesus was the lawful son of Joseph and Mary. The only choice open to us is between a virgin birth and an illegitimate birth."
To me the humility and courage of Mary in submitting to the virgin birth stand out in contrast to the attitudes of the critics who deny it. She surrendered her reputation to God's will. For us too what matters is that we allow God to be God and to do things his way, even if with Mary we thereby risk losing our good name.