The Christmas Season – The Nativity
Christmas is a Christian holy day, which celebrates the birth of Jesus, the Son of God. His actual date of birth is unknown, but it is usually celebrated on the 25th of December.
The birth of Jesus is also known as The Nativity. This is described in the New Testament of the Bible in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. It is from their accounts that the nativity story has been pieced together.
Both Gospels state that Jesus was born to a woman called Mary, and she was engaged to Joseph who was a carpenter. They also both say that Mary was a virgin when she became pregnant.
Luke’s account stipulates that Mary was visited by an angel who advised her that she would give birth to God’s Son. He later describes how shepherds were led to Jesus’ birthplace in Bethlehem by an angel.
Matthew, on the other hand, explains that Joseph was visited by an angel who persuaded him to marry Mary. Later, he recounted that wise men followed a star that led them to Jesus’ birthplace and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
In those times, all Jewish people had to be counted so that the Roman Emperor could calculate how much money to collect in the form of taxes. Therefore, people had to return to their original hometown to partake in the census for this purpose.
According to tradition, it is because of this census that Joseph and Mary had to make the long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. As Mary was pregnant, she made the journey on a donkey whilst Joseph was on foot.
However, when Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem, the local inn was full because many people had also returned to Bethlehem for the census. So the innkeeper allowed them to stay in the rock cave which he used as a stable for his animals.
It was in this stable that Mary gave birth to her very famous son.