Birth of Jesus – Bible Story
This is a condensed version of the Biblical narrative of Jesus’ birth. To further comprehend the significance of this world-changing event in the Bible, you may read more in-depth Bible verses from theScripturebelow and watch the articles and movies that accompany them. In the year 2000, a young lady from the village of Nazareth named Mary was visited by an angel named Gabriel, who spoke to her in a dream. The angel Gabriel informed the Jewish lady that she would become the mother of a boy named Jesus, who would later be revealed to be the Son of God.
When Mary’s story was conveyed to Joseph, he was saddened and perplexed since he did not trust her.
When the Roman emperor ordered a census of all people to be taken in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph were forced to leave their home in Nazareth and come to Bethlehem.
The inns were completely booked.
- Mary and Joseph sat down on the hay in a barn with animals resting around them and began to pray.
- The manger, which served as a feeding bowl for the animals, was most likely the sole area for the sleeping infant to lay.
- The happy news of the birth of the Savior and Messiah, Jesus Christ, was delivered to them by an angel.
- After some time had passed, three wise men, sometimes known as magi, were able to recognize the dazzling star in the sky that had appeared above the location where Jesus was born.
- During the wise men’s journey, Herod the king of Judah met with them and instructed them to return and inform him of the location of the infant king so that he might go and adore him as well.
- They bowed their heads in reverence and presented the Savior with presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
- Celebrate the birth of Christ by printing off your FREE copy of Beautiful Christmas Bible Verses printable to read and share with your family and friends this holiday season.
Continue reading below for the whole Scripture scriptures that relate to the stories of Jesus’ birth in the Bible books of Luke and Matthew: As part of our bigger Christmas and Advent resource library, which focuses on the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ, this piece is included.
What really is Christmas?
The history of the 25th of December Advent is defined as the period between the months of December and January. The Symbolism of the Christmas Tradition Bible Verses for the Holidays The Bible’s Narrative Image courtesy of istock
Bible Gateway passage: Luke 2:1-20 – New International Version
An overview of the biblical story of Jesus’ birth is provided here. To further comprehend the significance of this world-changing event in the Bible, you may read more in-depth Bible verses from theScripturebelow and watch the articles and videos. A young woman from the village of Nazareth named Mary was visited by an angel named Gabriel over 2,000 years ago today. During a visit to a Jewish lady, Gabriel informed her that she would become the mother of a boy named Jesus, who would later be recognized as the Son of God.
- As soon as it was revealed to Joseph, he became upset and perplexed since he did not trust Mary.
- When the Roman emperor ordered a census of all people to be taken in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph were forced to leave their home in Nazareth to journey there.
- Every room in the inn was booked up!
- When Mary and Joseph arrived at the stable, they sat down on the hay among the sleeping animals.
- The manger, which served as a feeding bowl for the animals, was most likely the only location where the sleeping infant could find resting spot.
- In an angelic message, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Messiah, announced the joyful news of his birth.
- Eventually, three wise men (also known as magi) noticed the magnificent light in that night’s sky that was hovering above the location where Jesus was born, and they followed it.
When Herod, the king of Judah, met with the wise men during their journey, he instructed them to return and inform him of the location of the infant king so that he, too, may go and adore him.
It was at this point that they bowed their heads in reverence and presented the Savior with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrh.
Get a FREE copy of Beautiful Christmas Bible Verses printable to read and share with your loved ones as you celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th!
To learn more about Jesus’ birth, check out these entire Scripture verses from his biographies in the books of Luke and Matthew: As part of our wider Christmas and Advent resource library, which focuses on the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ, we’ve included this piece.
Was there a reason behind the holiday season?
Is It True That Jesus Was Born on the 25th of December? On the 25th of December, there was a time when Advent is defined as the period between November 1st and December 25th Christmas Traditions Have a Deeper Meaning Bible Verse for Christmas Anecdotal Evidence istock is credited with the image
This is a synopsis of the biblical story of Jesus’ birth. You may read additional in-depth Bible verses from theScripturebelow, as well as articles and videos, to better comprehend the significance of this world-changing event in the Bible. A young woman from the village of Nazareth named Mary was visited by an angel named Gabriel over 2,000 years ago. The angel Gabriel informed the Jewish lady that she would become the mother of a boy named Jesus, who would later be recognized as the Son of God.
- When Mary’s story was delivered to Joseph, he was saddened and perplexed since he did not trust Mary.
- Joseph was overjoyed to hear this news.
- After traveling for several days on a donkey while pregnant, Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem and were informed that there were no available accommodations.
- Recognizing that Mary was due at any time, the proprietor of an inn offered Joseph and Mary the use of his stable.
- When Mary went into labor, Jesus was born in a barn.
- Shepherds in the pastures near Bethlehem were minding their flocks when an angel came to them during this time.
- The shepherds immediately proceeded in search of baby Jesus, whom the angels had informed them they would find lying in a manger.
After some time had passed, three wise men, sometimes known as magi, were able to recognize the dazzling star in the sky that had appeared above the location of Jesus’ birth.
During the wise men’s journey, Herod the king of Judah met with them and instructed them to return and inform him of the location of the infant king so that he might also go adore him.
They prostrated themselves before the Savior and presented him with presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Celebrate the birth of Christ by printing off your FREE copy of Beautiful Christmas Bible Verses printable to read and share with your family and friends this season.
The following are the whole Scripture texts for the stories of Jesus’ birth found in the Bible books of Luke and Matthew: As part of our wider Christmas and Advent resource library, which is focused on the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ, this piece is included.
What is the meaning of Christmas?
Understanding the origins, history, and traditions Traditions and History of Christmas Eve When Was Jesus’ Birth Commenced? The History of the 25th of December Advent is defined as follows: The Symbolism of Christmas Traditions Bible Verses for Christmas Story from the Bible image courtesy of istock
Bible Gateway Recommends
“Do not be alarmed, because behold, I bring you excellent news of great pleasure that will be shared by the entire population,” the angel assured them. Because on this day in the city of David, a Savior has been born to you, and his name is Christ the Lord. You will discover a baby lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes.” They hurriedly arrived and discovered Mary and Joseph, as well as the infant laying in a manger (Luke 2:10-11,16).
The Story of Jesus’ Birth
The Nativity is the account of Jesus’ birth, in which angels appear to shepherds keeping an eye on their flocks and direct them to the side of the newborn King Jesus, who is reclining in a feeding trough, as he was born. Upon hearing the shepherds’ report, young Mary (who is still a virgin) and Joseph, her betrothed, are taken aback. “Mary kept all of these thoughts in her heart, thinking them over and again” (Luke 2:19). Despite the fact that the incident is described in only a few words, the whole tale spans decades and has all of the elements that one would expect from a compelling story.
1. Prologue – Birth of Jesus Prophecy
According to God’s instructions to Moses, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites” (Deuteronomy 18:18). According to another prophesy, David will be succeeded by his descendants, who will be his own flesh and blood. “I will establish his dominion,” says the Lord of hosts. “I will establish his throne as the ruler of his realm for all time” (2 Samuel 7:12-13). The “he” in this sentence refers to Jesus, who was depicted hundreds of years before the account of his birth.
According to the book of Isaiah, the virgin will conceive and carry a son, whom she will name Immanuel, and he will be born to her in the year of his birth (Isaiah 7:14).
Israel was around 700 years distant from the birth of Christ at the time of his birth.
2. Introduction – the Angel and Mary
Jump ahead to the time when Rome controlled Palestine. An angel appeared to Mary and informed her that she had been selected by the Lord to carry and give birth to his Son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, whose name will be Jesus,” the prophet says. He will be magnificent, and he will be referred to as the Son of the Most High. He will inherit the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the family of Jacob for all time, and there will be no limit to the extent of his kingdom” (Luke 1:32-33).
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you,” the angel continued, referring to the conception of Jesus. (See also Luke 1:35) As soon as Mary decided to be Jesus’ mother, the world’s Savior would be born, which would be just nine months later.
3. Rising Action – Elizabeth
The period between conception and birth, during which Mary remains with Elizabeth, is separated by a few lines. The narrative also includes Elizabeth (Mary’s cousin), who becomes pregnant despite the fact that “Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years,” according to the novel. “Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John,” an angel had told Zechariah when he visited him in the temple. Many of the children of Israel will convert to the Lord their God, thanks to his efforts” (Luke 1:13,16).
- If this were a work of fiction, one could argue that God was preparing his audience for a sequel by predicting the mission of Jesus.
- Meanwhile, Elizabeth, together with Mary and Joseph, became one of the few people who realized that the Lord was going to bring his salvific plan to fulfillment.
- Zechariah’s mouth was opened at his circumcision, when he was given the name John.
- And all of these things were spoken across Judea’s hill region, and everyone who heard them buried them deep inside themselves, wondering, ‘What will this kid become?’ As a result, the hand of the Lord was upon him” (Luke 1:65-66).
The Characterization of God
Readers are compelled to continue reading till the end of the novel because of their ties with the protagonists. A hero of his own tale, God appeals to the reader by the reader’s recognition of God’s strength, the manner in which he keeps his promises, and his love. In this novel, readers experience Jesus through the eyes of Mary, Elizabeth, and even the angels, prompting the reader to come to expect and anticipate the same things that Israel had yearned for throughout history: a deliverer from their adversaries.
Is it possible that Mary’s kid is the one?
A priest by profession, Zechariah had forgotten God’s nature despite his calling as a priest.
The Savior is on his way, and the reader is ecstatic to finally meet him.
4. Climax – Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem
Following the arduous journey from Nazareth, Mary and Joseph made their way to Bethlehem in order to be tallied as part of the Roman census. Due to the high number of visitors in the town, the “kataluma,” also known as the “inn,” which Strong’s concordance characterizes as a lodging establishment, probably a guest room in a private residence, was completely booked. In other words, Mary most likely gave birth in a home rather than a barn outdoors, and the manger was not outside. Considering that animals were brought inside to be protected, it is extremely likely that a manger was kept in the house rather than a stable, according to the historian.
The shepherds returned to their sheep “glorifying and worshipping God,” according to the report (Luke 2:18,19).
Enjoy a FREE 25 Days to a Joyful Christmas Prayer Guide to help you celebrate the birth of Christ!
Symbolism in the Story of Jesus’ Birth
From Nazareth, Mary and Joseph began their lengthy journey to Bethlehem in order to be included in the Roman census. Strong’s concordance identifies the “kataluma” (inn) as a lodging facility, maybe a guest room in a private residence, because there was no room at the time because the town was overrun with people. This means that the manger was probably not outside the home where Mary gave birth; instead, it was most likely within. Considering that animals were brought inside to be protected, it is extremely likely that a manger was maintained in the house rather than a stable, according to historians.
“Glorifying and worshipping God,” the shepherds returned to their sheep (Luke 2:18,19).
With a FREE 25 Days to a Joyful Christmas Prayer Guide, you may celebrate the birth of Christ.
There isn’t much more information available regarding Jesus’ life before his public ministry began. The family was visited by the Magi, and they were able to flee from the terrible wrath of King Herod. Once again, the action would pick up as Jesus began to lecture about the impending Kingdom, culminating in the crucifixion of Jesus and the heroic triumph of sin, Satan, and death, which marked the culmination of God’s sentireand true tale. iStock/Getty Images Plus/udra courtesy of the photographer Candice Lucey is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where she lives with her husband and two children.
The Birth of Jesus
Matthew chapters 1 and 2, and Luke chapters 1 and 2.
An Angel Visits Mary
|The angel Gabriel appeared to Maryand said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. Youwill conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. Hewill be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” (TNIV)|
A young Jewish woman named Mary was approached by an angel named Gabriel one day some 2,000 years ago. The angel was named Gabriel.
The angel Gabriel informed Mary that she would be the mother of a boy named Jesus, who would be the Son of God! Despite the fact that she was befuddled and concerned by the unexpected news, Mary had confidence in God and answered, “I am the Lord’s servant; let it be as you say.”
Journey to Bethlehem
A young Jewish lady named Mary was approached by an angel named Gabriel one day some 2,000 years ago. Jesus, the Boy of God, Gabriel announced to Mary that she will give birth to a son named Jesus. This unexpected news left Mary befuddled and concerned, but she had confidence in God and said, “I am the Lord’s servant; let it be as you say.”
Shepherds Visit Jesus
|Jesus was born in a stable and laidto sleep in a manger. The shepherds came to see firsthand the things theangel had told them.|
Some shepherds were out in the fields near Bethlehem on that particular night, keeping an eye on their flocks of sheep. They were visited by an angel who brought them the joyful news that a Savior, the Messiah, had been born to them. The shepherds were instructed by an angel that they would be able to discover Jesus laying in a manger. All of a sudden, a large number of angels arrived and began to sing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill among mankind!” After a hasty journey into Bethlehem, the shepherds discovered Jesus in the manger, just as the angel had said.
Wise Men Visit Jesus
|Wise men from the East came to worshipJesus, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.|
A group of shepherds was out in the fields near Bethlehem on that particular night, keeping an eye on their sheep flocks. They were visited by an angel, who brought them the wonderful news that a Savior, the Messiah, had been born to them and their families. According to the angel, the shepherds should go to a manger where they would discover Jesus. All of a sudden, a large number of angels arrived and began to sing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill among mankind!” The shepherds hastened towards Bethlehem, where they discovered Jesus in the manger, exactly as the angel had said.
Journey to Egypt
When King Herod informed the three wise men that he desired to worship Jesus, he was lying. He was concerned that this new “king” would usurp his position as monarch of Judea. He was unaware that Jesus would grow up to be the king of God’s spiritual kingdom, rather than the monarch of Judea, as he had assumed. What Herod actually desired was to track down and kill Jesus! When Herod discovered that the three wise men had not returned to inform him where to find Jesus, he became enraged. He dispatched his men to Bethlehem with the orders to murder any infants under the age of two, believing that Jesus would almost likely be among those slaughtered.
Joseph relocated Mary and Jesus to Egypt, where they would be safe from Herod’s persecution.
Is it true that Jesus was born on Christmas Day? We commemorate the birth of Jesus on Christmas, yet no one is certain of the precise day of Jesus’ birth, or even the year in which Jesus was born. In 336 A.D., the Western Church, centered in Rome, chose December 25 as the day to commemorate “Christ’s Mass,” which means “Christ’s sacrifice.” The Eastern Church picked the sixth of January.
The holiday was dubbed Epiphany, which literally translates as “appearance.” The time between December 25 and January 6 became known as the Twelve Days of Christmas as a result of this tradition.
The legends of Jesus’ birth serve as a connection between the past and the present. Considering the circumstances of Jesus’ birth, it seems clear that He fulfilled the Old Testament predictions about a coming Messiah (Isaiah7:14, Matthew 1:23). He was born in the city of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:5-6). He had been summoned out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1, Matthew 2:15). When Jesus was born, it was in a stable, which was the most basic of settings. In a similar vein, Jesus demonstrated how God’s favor is reserved for the impoverished and disadvantaged.
Gentiles would eventually make up the majority of the Christian world in the future.
The Christmas Story
The angel Gabriel appeared to a young lady living in the northern town of Nazareth thousands of years ago, during the reign of King Herod of Judea (now part of Israel), and told her that God had sent her an angel from heaven. Mary was the name of the young lady, and she was engaged to be married to Joseph. In response, the angel Gabriel told Mary: ‘Peace be with you! The blessings of God have been bestowed upon you, and God is delighted with you. Mary was taken aback by this and was perplexed as to what the angel was trying to tell her.
- You will become pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to a son, whom you will name Jesus, after the Messiah.
- Mary was terrified, yet she put her confidence in God.
- Mary bid goodbye to her family and friends and traveled to her cousin Elizabeth’s home to see her and her husband, Zechariah, for the first time.
- She had a vague understanding that Mary had been selected by God to be the mother of his Son, Jesus.
- He was going to be known as John.
- When Joseph learned that Mary was carrying a child before they were married, he became extremely concerned.
- “Don’t be frightened of having Mary as your wife,” an angel told Joseph in a dream.
When Joseph regained consciousness, he followed the instructions of the angel and married Mary as his wife.
The Roman Emperor Augustus desired a comprehensive list of all the citizens of the empire in order to ensure that they were all paying their taxes.
Due to the fact that Joseph’s family originated in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph had to travel a significant distance (about 70 miles) from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
Because Mary’s baby was going to be delivered any day now, Joseph and Mary traveled at a snail’s pace.
There were so many individuals who had come to register their names in the census that every home was completely filled, and every bed in every guest room was already taken.
People frequently kept animals in their homes, especially at night, and utilized them as a form of ‘central heating’!
As a result, Mary gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God, in the same area where the animals lay.
The manger, which served as Jesus’ bed, was also where the animals ate their hay.
As the new day dawned, an angel came in front of them, and the brightness of God radiated all around them.
Today, in the town of Bethlehem, a Saviour has been born specifically for you.
As they sang, the shepherds could hear them praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and peace to everyone on earth.’ As soon as the angels left, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s travel to Bethlehem and see what’s occurred.’ As a result, the shepherds traveled to Bethlehem and discovered Mary and Joseph.
- When they saw him, they informed everyone about what the angel had told them, and everyone who heard the account was taken aback by the miracle that occurred.
- It was a brand new dazzling star that arose in the sky at the time of Jesus’ birth.
- They were extremely intelligent individuals who had studied the constellations and had learned from ancient records that a new star would arise when a great monarch was born, and so they went about their business.
- The Wise Men followed the star as it led them towards the nation of Judea, and when they arrived in the capital city of Jerusalem, they began to question people about the whereabouts of the child who was born to be king of the Jews.
- The Wise Men were summoned to Herod’s court by the king.
- His words were: ‘When you have located him, please inform me of his whereabouts so that I may pay my respects to him.’ Herod, on the other hand, did not inform them of his true intentions, which were to assassinate the new monarch.
- It appeared to come to a complete stop and beam right down upon the location where Jesus was.
The gifts that the Wise Men had brought to Jesus were dispersed by the crowds.
God told the Wise Men in a dream that they should not return to Herod’s court.
After the Three Wise Men had left, Joseph had a dream in which an angel appeared to him.
Keep standing where you are until I tell you, since Herod is on his way to find Jesus in order to murder him.’ After that, Joseph rose from his bed and brought Jesus and Mary with him to Egypt, where he remained until Herod’s death the next day.
This was done in order to assassinate the new King, as his plot to ascertain the whereabouts of the new King via the Wise Men had failed.
‘Get up, take Jesus and Mary, and return to Israel, since those who were attempting to murder Jesus have been killed,’ the angel replied.
Nevertheless, when he learned that Herod’s son had become king of Judea, he became fearful of visiting the region.
As a result, they relocated to Galilee, where they settled in their hometown of Nazareth. You may download the Christmas Story in pdf format, which includes larger images (1mb) You may enjoy reading The Christmas Story as a comic book! (This link will open in a new window/tab)
A Summary and Analysis of the Nativity Story of Jesus Christ
According to the Gospel of Luke, the birth of Jesus Christ is the most thorough and important narrative of his life to date. However, Luke’s narrative, in addition to being far more informative than the one found in the Gospel of Matthew, is the version of events that puts the most demand on the reader’s ability to believe what is being told. The Gospel of Luke contains the details of the census that Joseph and Mary were required to conduct in Bethlehem, as well as the narrative of Jesus’ birth and burial in a manger.
- To set the stage for our discussion of the event, here’s a synopsis of what the Gospel of Luke says about the birth of Jesus Christ.
- In the Gospel of Luke, a summary of the Nativity is given.
- This baby boy will be God’s son, according to the Bible.
- She squeals with delight.
- In order to fulfill this requirement, everyone must return to the location of their birth.
- At the time of Mary’s conception in Bethlehem, the baby Jesus is born and wrapped in swaddling cloths before being placed in a manger.
- The shepherds who are keeping watch over their flocks in the neighboring fields are visited by an angel of the Lord, who descends down and informs them that a Saviour, Christ the Lord, has been born on this day in Bethlehem.
It then becomes quite festive, as a swarm of angels gathers around the angel of the Lord to commemorate the celebration.
In the Gospel of Matthew, a summary of the Nativity is given.
For starters, it is far shorter than the account provided by Luke.
This was before they were married.
Matthew, on the other hand, is more concerned with Joseph’s concerns about his wife – who, it is believed, is still a virgin – having had a child when Joseph hasn’t.
Consequently, an angel of the Lord appears to both of them in order to put Joseph’s mind at ease and to demonstrate the divinity of the child Mary has conceived.
Emmanuel, which translates as ‘God with us’ in English.
In order to explain this peculiar detail, most Bible scholars believe that the word ‘Emmanuel’ here is a form of moniker, similar to a nickname, or’sobriquet,’ and that the word ‘Emmanuel’ here is a description of the kid rather than the actual ‘name’ he is to be given.
As a result of this, Matthew focuses his attention to Herod’s conduct after learning that the Messiah has been born in his own city.
It is clear from the foregoing descriptions of the two gospel narratives of the Nativity that Luke, rather than Matthew, is responsible for most of the features connected with Jesus’ birth in popular imagination (and commemorated in everything from cribs to nativity plays every Christmas).
Due to the fact that Luke’s narrative makes reference to shepherds tending their flocks at night (Luke 2:8), it is more plausible that the event took place in the spring (and lambing season) than than the winter, when sheep were most likely confined to a livestock cage or corral.
Having said that, what about the specifics that actually exist in the biblical narratives?
With this simple explanation, Matthew is able to not only fulfill the prophesy (which said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and would be a descendant of King David), but also to ensure that Jesus was living in Nazareth immediately after his birth.
Perhaps it is Mary’s lineage that is important?) However, it is evident that Luke was not as concerned as Matthew with coming up with the least bizarre and far-fetched mechanism for locating the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem as Matthew was.
When they do the census, why can’t they be taxed in the city where they are now residing and declare their hometown as their residence?
With the help of the ‘little donkey’ from a well-known song, that’s a long way to travel when your waters may burst at any moment.
Perhaps the story’s emphasis on the difficulties that accompanied the birth of the most significant person in the history of Christianity has something to recommend it.
We are all familiar with the details: after arriving in Bethlehem and discovering that there is no space at the inn, Mary gives birth to Jesus in a stable amid the animals.
“In a manger,” he tells us, after having been wrapped “in swaddling cloths,” the infant Jesus was lay “in a manger” (Luke 2:7).
There are other ways to interpret the Greek word kataluma, including “inn” and “guest chamber,” and it is more probable that the Gospel writer was thinking of the latter rather than a commercial tavern when he used the term.
At the period, large houses frequently included a manger in their living room where the animals were housed.
For the record, there is no historical evidence for Augustus’ census of the Roman world, and the Bible makes no indication of when Jesus was born.
However, because the Luke version of the Nativity is the most complete account of Jesus’ birth that we can find in the Bible, and because it is an inspiring story about the difficult circumstances in which the Messiah was brought into the world, it is most likely that the story became so well-known despite its flaws.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Biser Todorov.
What history really tells us about the birth of Jesus
It’s possible that I’m going to destroy your Christmas. Sorry. However, the fact is that those nativity performances in which your darling children are decked out in tinsel and angel wings bear little similarity to what truly occurred. This is also true of the typical Christmas card, which depicts a calm nativity scene. Traditions are collections of diverse narratives that represent a later Christian piety, and they are classified as such. So, what really transpired at that fabled “first Christmas” celebration?
The Christian church designated the day we commemorate as Christ’s birthday in the fourth century, and it has been celebrated ever since.
Contrary to common perception, which holds that Christians merely adopted a pagan celebration, historian Andrew McGowan thinks that the date was chosen because it was associated with Jesus’ crucifixion in the thoughts of ancient theologians.
Only two of the four gospels in the Bible make mention of Jesus’ conception. The tale of the angel Gabriel coming to Mary, the couple’s travel to Bethlehem in order to take part in a census, and the shepherds’ visit are all told in detail by Luke. With the Magnificat, her visit to her cousin Elizabeth, her personal meditation on the events, dozens of angels, and the infamous inn with no room among other things, this film is an absolute must-see for everyone who loves Mary. There is a long-standing misconception about the inn with “no space” in the Christmas tale, and this is one of the most common examples.
Joseph and Mary most likely stayed with family, but the guest room was too tiny for a delivery, and as a result, Mary gave birth in the main room of the home, which also happened to be where animal mangers were located.
The wise men
The account of Mary’s pregnancy is told in a similar way in Matthew’s gospel, albeit from a somewhat different perspective. When the angel visits to Joseph this time, he is informed that his fiancée Mary is pregnant, but that he must still marry her since it is part of God’s plan for him. Shepherds come to see Jesus as a symbol of his significance to common people, as Luke does, but the magi (wise men) from the east deliver Jesus royal presents, as Matthew does. There were most likely not three magi present, and they were certainly not kings.
- The number three is derived from the mention of three gifts — gold, frankincense, and myrrh – during the Christmas season.
- King Herod’s instructions to murder infant boys up to the age of two, according to the magi’s report regarding Jesus’s age, are recorded in Matthew 2:16, according to the Bible.
- The presence of animals gathered around the newborn Jesus and Mary riding a donkey are conspicuously lacking from these biblical tales.
- Whenever Christians now congregate around a crib or build up an elaborate nativity scene in their homes, they are carrying on a tradition that began with St.
He brought a crib and animals into the chapel so that everyone attending might feel like they were a part of the narrative. As a result, a popular pietistic tradition was established. Later art depicting the adoring of the infant Jesus displays a devotional spirituality that is akin to this.
A radical Christmas
So, when we strip the narrative down to its biblical and historical essence, removing the stable, the animals, the cherub-like angels, and even the inn, what do we have left? We have nothing. The historical Jesus was born into a Jewish family that was forced to live under a foreign rule. In his early years, he was born into an extended family that had moved away from home, and his family had fled from a monarch who had wanted to assassinate him due to his political significance. In its historical context, the story of Jesus is one of human fear and heavenly mercy, of human abuse and divine love, and of human abuse and divine love.
There is nothing wrong with the devotional piety of Christian tradition; but, a white-washed nativity tableau risks overlooking the most revolutionary components of the Christmas tale.
He, too, was a brown-skinned infant whose Middle-Eastern family had been forced to flee their home as a result of terror and political unrest.
One way to take pleasure in this gift is to watch lovely, if not historically accurate, nativity performances and take pleasure in all the other delights of the season.
Was Jesus really born in Bethlehem? Why the Gospels disagree over the circumstances of Christ’s birth
Every Christmas, Bethlehem, a very modest village in the Palestinian West Bank, takes center stage: it is the birthplace of Jesus Christ. It is believed that Jesus was born in this village about two millennia ago, according to certain biblical texts. Although the New Testament Gospels all mention Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, they do not all agree on the specifics of his birth. Some passages make no mention of Bethlehem or the birth of Jesus at all. It may be difficult to reconcile the differing viewpoints expressed throughout the Gospels.
Today, genealogy can assist people become more aware of their family’s medical history, as well as find long-lost family relatives.
Gospel of Matthew
Accord to the Gospel of Matthew, which is the first Gospel to be included in the canon of the New Testament, Joseph and Mary were present in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth. The narrative opens with three wise men who travel to the city of Jerusalem after sighting a star that they interpret as heralding the birth of a new ruler. They are the protagonists of the story. This is followed by a description of their meeting with a local Jewish monarch called Herod, whom they approach for information regarding the place of Jesus’ birth.
These were extremely precious presents, particularly the frankincense and myrrh, which were expensive scents with medical properties.
When the three wise men arrived at Herod’s palace with the news that a child had been born who would one day reign as king of the Jews, Herod devised a plot to assassinate all children under the age of five in order to eliminate the danger to his monarchy.
After Herod dies as a result of a sickness, Matthew claims that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus do not return to Bethlehem to bury him. Instead, they move north to Nazareth in Galilee, which is modern-day Nazareth in Israel, where they spend the rest of their time.
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel of Luke, a biography of Jesus’ life that was written at the same time as the Gospel of Matthew, contains a different story of Jesus’ birth than the Gospel of Matthew. The Gospel of Luke begins with Joseph and a pregnant Mary in the Galilee region of Palestine. They travel to Bethlehem in response to an acensus, which was issued by the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus and demanded of all Jewish people everywhere. Because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he was obligated to register in Bethlehem, which was his homeland at the time.
When Jesus is born, he is filled with rage because all of the tourists had crammed the guest rooms.
Angels, according to Luke, informed these shepherds of Jesus’ location in Bethlehem, and they responded accordingly.
Luke also adds that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus leave Bethlehem eight days after Jesus’ birth and go to Jerusalem, then to Nazareth, according to the Gospel of Luke.
According to John Meier, a historian who specializes in the historical Jesus, Jesus’ “birth at Bethlehem is to be considered not as a historical reality” but rather as a “theological affirmation disguised as an ostensibly factual tale.” In other words, the assumption that Jesus was a descendant of King David resulted in the formation of a myth about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, which is now widely accepted.
According to Raymond Brown, another Gospel expert, “the two tales are not just different – they are diametrically opposed to one other in a number of points.”
Mark’s and John’s Gospels
When it comes to Jesus’ birth, the Gospel of Luke, which was written at the same time as the Gospel of Matthew, provides a slightly different story. Starting in Galilee, the Gospel of Luke tells the story of Joseph and his pregnant wife Mary. When the Roman ruler Caesar Augustus decreed an acensus for the whole Jewish population, they set out on their trek to Bethlehem to fulfill that decree. Joseph’s homeland of Bethlehem was designated as his ancestral home since he was descended from King David.
Because of the overcrowding in the guest rooms, Jesus is born in a state of panic.
According to Luke, angels informed these shepherds of Jesus’ whereabouts in Bethlehem.
Also mentioned in the book of Luke is the fact that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus leave Bethlehem eight days after Jesus’ birth and go to Jerusalem, then to Nazareth.
As John Meier, a historian of the historical Jesus, notes, Jesus’ “birth in Bethlehem is to be understood not as a historical truth” but rather as a “theological affirmation” that has been disguised as a “historical tale” Or to put it another way, the conviction that Jesus was a descendant of King David resulted in the creation of a myth about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.
According to Raymond Brown, another Gospel expert, “the two tales are not merely distinct – they are diametrically opposed to one another in a number of facts.”
An ethnic identity
During the time period of Jesus’ life, there were a variety of viewpoints on the Messiah to consider. In one school of Jewish belief, the Messiah was supposed to be an eternal ruler descended from the line of David, as was the case with King David. Further support for this concept may be found in other Jewish books like as the book of Ezra, which was written in the same century as the Gospels, and the Jewish sectarianQumran literature (which was published two centuries earlier). Although it is believed to have been written about B.C.
- In Matthew’s version, this sentence is repeated once more.
- Many ancient founders and political leaders were linked to certain individuals through genealogy.
- Hercules was said to have been a son of Alexander the Great, who reigned over an empire that stretched from Macedonia to India.
- As well as this, a Jewish writer named Philo who lived in the first century AD said that Abraham, along with all of the Jewish priests and prophets, were created by God.
As the Greek historian Polybius says, the great actions of forebears are “part of the inheritance of posterity” because they are “part of the heritage of posterity.” The presence of the city of Bethlehem in the gospels of Matthew and Luke added to the assertion that Jesus was the Messiah descended from the House of David.
The legends of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem helped to solidify the notion that he was a legitimate descendant of King David.
The history of the nativity: how much is known about the birth of Jesus?
Slade and Cliff Richard are two of the most famous musicians in the world. Christmas music blasting from the airwaves, shopping malls bursting at the seams with sparkling trees and sprigs of mistletoe, and teachers frantically putting the finishing touches on school nativity plays all over the country – the Christmas season is unquestionably one that is steeped in tradition. More than two billion people worldwide consider the holiday season to be the most significant time of the year to celebrate.
- But what about the 2,000-year-old story that is at the center of these festivities?
- Is it a matter of cold, hard historical truth, a theological leap of faith, or something in the middle?
- However, these occurrences were written by enigmatic scribes, with little supporting evidence, a very long time ago, and have since been forgotten.
- It was a long time ago that this narrative was written down by enigmatic scribes with little to no supporting proof.
Throughout history, academics have pondered this subject, and many have attempted to find an explanation in the pages of the gospels, which are considered the most significant works in the whole Christian canon.
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the writers on whose works we depend most of our understanding of Jesus’ life and teaching, yet they provide two main issues for historians examining the nativity account. The first is that two of the writings – Mark and John – do not mention Jesus’ birth at all; the second is that the two manuscripts that do include it – Matthew and Luke – dispute on many of the specifics of his birth and early life. When we read the gospels of Matthew and Luke, we find out that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that his mother, Mary, was a virgin at the time of his birth.
- The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the writers on whose works we depend most of our understanding of Jesus’ life and teaching, yet they provide two fundamental issues for historians looking into the nativity myth. The first is that two of the writings – Mark and John – do not mention Jesus’ birth at all
- The second is that the two manuscripts that do include it – Matthew and Luke – dispute on many of the specifics of his birth and life. When we read the gospels of Matthew and Luke, we are told that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that his mother, Mary, was a virgin at the time of his birth. Although they coincide in a few instances of the birth tale, this is the only instance in which the two stories agree.
In addition to the apparition of an angel to Joseph in a dream, the three wise men who followed the star from the east, and Herod the Great’s tragic killing of the innocents, we may credit Matthew for all of these historical events. Luke makes no mention of any of these. The Gospel of Luke, on the other hand, tells us that “an angel of the Lord” came to several shepherds who were “keeping watch over their sheep by night,” that Mary and Joseph were obliged to go to Bethlehem in order to be counted in a Roman census, and that Jesus was lay in a manger.
In the opinion of Ben Witherington, a New Testament scholar at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky, “If the evangelists were going to make up a story about the origins of Jesus and keep their story straight, you would expect their stories not to differ in detail.” Witherington argues that the evangelists’ stories did not differ in detail.
Mary and Joseph were present at the census of Quirinius, which was one of the events used to determine the date of Jesus’ birth.
Given the fact that eyewitnesses to the events of Jesus’ life were rapidly dying out at the time – and that many early Christian communities were isolated from one another, scattered by political upheaval – one could argue that agreement between Matthew and Luke’s accounts would be a significant accomplishment.
- This great Roman monk devised the Anno Domini era in what would become the sixth century AD, stating with absolute confidence that Jesus was born in the year 1 AD.
- But were Dionysius’ calculations anything more than a wild guess on the part of the historian?
- What happened to Jesus’ corpse after he was crucified in the first century AD is still a mystery.
- Nonetheless, three occurrences in the gospel writers’ narratives of the birth —the census, a slaughter of innocents, and the appearance of the star in Bethlehem – at the very least provide some plausible clues as to what happened.
- Some historians have questioned the veracity of the story, claiming that it was simply not common practice for the Romans to uproot families in this manner.
- Could it be possible that Jesus was born in this particular year?
- But in which direction were they headed?
- There is, however, a difficulty, which is illustrated by one of the most well-known scenes in Matthew’s depiction of the nativity: the killing of the unborn children.
Here, Herod the Great (the Roman-appointed King of Judea), alarmed by the news that “the King of the Jews” had just been born in Bethlehem, orders the execution of all men under the age of two in Bethlehem and the surrounding area.
- Digging for the Bible in the Holy Land: 10 major findings from the region
Is this a sobering fact? Is it possible to write elaborate fiction? Once again, there is a split in opinion. The first-century writer Josephus, who was a vocal opponent of the Judean monarch, is said to have condemned Herod if it was proven that the executions were authorized by Herod himself. Witherington, on the other hand, has no reason to be skeptical of Matthew. In fact, Herod was so vicious and paranoid that he murdered his own children, believing they were plotting to remove him from power.
In the gospel of Matthew, the killing of innocents is the only time it is mentioned.
As a result, rather than clearing up any misunderstanding about the year of Jesus’ birth, these two instances have only served to further muddy the waters.
HEROD: JUDEA’S PUPPET KING?
It is Herod the Great, one of the most feared figures in the New Testament, the guy who won his place in history by ordering the execution of all infant boys in Bethlehem, according to tradition. Herod, who ruled as King of Judea from 37 BC to 4 BC, is still regarded as a villain more than 2,000 years after his death. However, other historians believe that he was more than deserving of the epithet of “Great” throughout his lifetime. No matter how powerful or brutal Herod was, he could never have achieved his position as the dominating force in Judea if it hadn’t been for the Romans’ support.
Herod’s reputation as one of the ancient world’s great builders was established through his use of Roman funds, which enabled him to oversee the construction of such architectural treasures as the port of Caesarea on the Mediterranean’s eastern coast and the monumental desert stronghold of Masada, which overlooks the Dead Sea.
He appears to have earned his reputation as a ruthless and despotic leader, and this looks to be well justified.
Increasing paranoia and mental instability accompanied his advancing years, which culminated in the murder of his wife and two of his children. Even Emperor Augustus, who was not averse to violence himself, was driven to remark that it was preferable to be Herod’s dog than his son in this situation.
Star of wonder
What about the star of Bethlehem, on the other hand? Is there any light shed on the problem as a result of this? As a visual representation of the birth of Jesus, the three wise men (or magi) following a star to his stable is possibly the most well-known part of the entire nativity tale. Academics have been attempting to relate this star to an astrological event for centuries, with the hope of eventually establishing an exact date for the occurrence. Johannes Kepler, a pivotal player in the scientific revolution of the 17th century, speculated that the magi may have been captivated by a series of three conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn that happened in 7 BC.
Others have speculated that the star may have been a comet or nova, similar to one that was observed by Chinese and Korean astronomers around the year 5 BC.
For example, John Mosley, an astronomer at the Griffith Observatory in California, suggests that “maybe it was something that required interpretation rather than being spectacular.” We don’t know who the magi were, or where they were going, if they did really follow a star to Bethlehem almost two thousand years ago.
- Originally from Persia (now Iran), they belonged to a priestly group that had been documented by the Greek historian Herodotus over 500 years ago.
- Several names have been given to them, including Hormizdah, Yazdegerd, and Perozdh in one narrative from Persia, with the Western church deciding on Balthasar, Melchior, and Caspar or Gaspar as their names.
- “They would have seen the star as a sign from God in the skies that something significant was about to take place.” The location of Jesus’ birth is marked by a silver star within the Church of the Nativity, which was built over the area where it was thought he was born.
- As for his birthplace, it’s possible that it was a cave that was used to house cattle at the time of his conception.
- These structures were tiny and gloomy, according to archaeological digs, with mud-plastered walls, according to the findings.
- Indeed, the culmination of the Christmas celebrations takes place on December 25, when the celebrations of Jesus’ birth reach their peak.
- ‘According to the tale of shepherds in the fields with flocks, it is possible that Jesus’ birth took place in the spring,’ adds Witherington.
- The reason for this appears to be that it was already a time of year when people all throughout Europe were accustomed to letting their hair down, according to the evidence.
Traditionally held in the fourth century AD, midwinter festivities were a well-established feature in the pagan calendar, commemorating the period when the Sun began to shine again and the days began to lengthen again.
- Instructions on how to hold a medieval Christmas
- Unexpected characters from the history of Christmas include carrots, goblins, and poisonous frogs. The origins of Christmas crackers are discussed.
To commemorate the winter solstice in the British Isles, druids cut mistletoe and blessed it before distributing it. As part of their celebration of the ‘Yule’ festival, people in Scandinavia brought evergreens indoors and lit logs on fire. The festival of Saturnalia has been celebrated for centuries in Rome, with a flurry of drinking and feasting in honor of Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture, and this tradition has continued to this day. Christmas may not have been very innovative, but it was a rousing success nonetheless.
- By the end of the seventh century, it had spread as far as Scandinavia, where people were celebrating it.
- It had already begun its transformation into the cultural giant it is today by the time William the Conqueror was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day in 1066.
- In our modern age of increasing skepticism, opinions have, unsurprisingly, shifted.
- What message are the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth conveying, and should Christians be more concerned with that message?
- In Ben Witherington’s opinion, “it is critical to recognize that history and theology are intertwined in biblical history, and that nothing about Jesus’ life can be theologically accurate while being historically wrong.” In contrast to Dr.
It was in 2013 when she said, in a BBC programme, “I don’t think it’s necessary to accept that all of those things are factual.” In the end, I believe that what is most essential about these stories is the theology they convey, and that this is what the authors were attempting to convey.” Investigate religion in further depth with the BBC Radio 4’s In Our Timearchive.
Jesusthe nativity: 5 key locales from the gospels
Though some of the events recounted in the gospels may be difficult to authenticate, finding the locations where they may have occurred is not difficult. As the annunciation occurs, this is believed to be the location where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, Jesus’ mother, and informed her that she would become the mother of God, an occurrence known as the annunciation. The existing well, despite the fact that it is a non-operational rebuild, is located atop an underground spring that has functioned as a watering source for Palestinian villages for hundreds of years.
THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE,JERUSALEM
For more than 1,600 years, Christians have held that this church in Jerusalem’s ancient city contains the place of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial, which they believe to be true. Since it was dedicated by Constantine the Great about AD 336, the church has had a rather turbulent history, having been devastated by forces from both the Persian and Fatimid empires. It is believed that the crucifixion took place on this rock, which is protected by a glass dome, and it is the most frequented spot in the cathedral nowadays.
Following the Last Supper and soon following, according to the gospels, Jesus spent time here agonizing over his fate, telling God that “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 4
Al-Maghtas, on the east bank of the River Jordan, is considered to have been the location of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist. Al-Maghta, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is thought to be so vital to the narrative of Jesus that it has drawn the attention of popes and leaders of state. 5
THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY,BETHLEHEM
The Church of the Nativity is considered to be one of the holiest places in all of Christendom. Constantine the Great erected this basilica in the late 320s, making it the oldest significant church in the Holy Land and the world’s most ancient major church. However, it is the grotto, located a level below the main church – where a silver star is supposed to represent the site where Jesus was born – that has proven to be the most appealing for tourists for more than 1,600 years. This piece was initially published in the Christmas 2019 issue of BBCHistory Revealed.