The birth of Jesus, or the nativity, is a very special event for the Christian faith. It is a story found in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Mary, the mother of Jesus, had received a message from the angel Gabriel telling her that she would give birth to a son. She believed this message and grew joyful at the thought of her son. This is the reason why many people celebrate the nativity every year.
Mary gave birth to a son
The story of the baby Jesus in the Bible begins in Luke 1:25, when Gabriel appears to Mary to tell her that she was going to give birth to God’s Messiah. In fact, Mary was a young virgin who was engaged to Joseph. The virgin birth teaching is a controversial one because some believe Mary had no other children. However, Matthew 1:24-25 contradicts this teaching by suggesting that Mary had more than one child before Jesus was born.
Gabriel told her that she would have a son
The angel Gabriel appeared to the Jewish prophet Daniel seven hundred years before Jesus was born. While Daniel was a captive during the deportation of the Jews to Babylon, he received a message from Gabriel about the birth of a son, a Messiah. This message would change the lives of people around the world. Now, we know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and was named after the angel Gabriel.
She believed the angel of the Lord
The angel of the LORD is a figure in the Bible who is associated with God, but it is not exactly clear what his function is. Some interpret him as a messenger, while others believe he is God in human form. In either case, an angel is a person sent by God to do something. But the angel of the LORD was not present at Jesus’ birth. Instead, the angel was a messenger sent by the Father.
She rejoiced in God’s promise
Mary’s pregnancy was a surprise, but her joy was not limited to the birth of her son. While the birth of John the Baptist was remarkable for his parents, the birth of Jesus is a miracle. Angels rejoicing in the heavens proclaim that the Christ has been born, and shepherds sing praises to God. These births climax the fulfillment of God’s promises to his people.
She was a carpenter
In the Gospel of Matthew and Mark, Jesus’ mother is identified as a carpenter. According to Jewish tradition, fathers had to teach their sons a trade at the age of twelve. Since Jesus’s father was Jewish, he probably learned the trade from him. Another source that indicates Jesus was a carpenter is Saint Justin Martyrs’ Dialogue with Trypho. Regardless of the source, the notion that Jesus was a carpenter is intriguing.
Herod was king at the time of his birth
Herod was the son of Herod II, who was a powerful ruler in Galilee. As governor, Herod overstepped his authority and executed rebellious brigands. Despite his brutality, he was protected by his father from the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious council. He later joined the Roman administration of Syria. As king, Herod was tasked with conquering Judea and was ultimately victorious.
He was baptized as an adult
The Gospels describe Jesus as a child, but the Scriptural account of his baptism indicates that he was an adult. Unlike John, who baptized only infants, Jesus was an adult when he presented himself in water baptism at the River Jordan. Similarly, Jesus’ baptism signaled the beginning of his mission as a son of God and an obedient one. The Gospels also reveal that he was a powerful witness to the faith of his followers.
He was named Jesus
It is impossible to say exactly where the spelling of Jesus originated, but it is thought that it originated in Switzerland, where the word “J” sounds similar to the English “Y” but resembles the Latin “Ie” sound. When Catholic queen Mary I took the throne in England in 1553, many Protestant scholars migrated to Geneva, Switzerland, and began writing the Bible. This is when we learn the origin of the name “Jesus.”
He was born in Bethlehem
The place where Jesus was born, Bethlehem, is celebrated with the Christmas story and seasonal songs. Though the biblical Bethlehem is commonly known, some scholars raise questions about the city’s origins. For example, the Gospel of Luke mentions that Jesus’ parents traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem before he was born. According to the Bible, King Herod ordered the killing of all male children under two years of age in Bethlehem. This forced Joseph to flee with his family and eventually settle in Nazareth.