The Birth of Jesus Christ
This is a summary of the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus. You can read more in-depth Bible verses from the Scripture below and use the articles and videos to understand the meaning of this world-changing event in the Bible.
Angels Visit Mary and Joseph
Almost 2,000 years ago, a young woman from the town of Nazareth named Mary was visited by an angel named Gabriel. The Angel Gabriel told the Jewish woman that she would have a son named Jesus, who would be God's Son.
"And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1:30-33)
Mary then wondered how this was possible since she had not been with a man. The Angel Gabriel then explains the miracle of Christ's incarnation. He was born of a virgin, just as the prophecy had predicted in Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."
"And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her." (Luke 1:34-38)
At this time, Mary was engaged to her soon-to-be husband, Joseph. When told, Joseph was hurt and confused because he did not believe Mary. The angel Gabriel visited Joseph and told him, "Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit," and her son, Jesus, would save the people from their sins.
"Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:19:21)
Birth of Christ in Bethlehem
Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem because of an order from the Roman emperor that a census, or record, of all people, be taken in their hometown. After traveling pregnant on a donkey for several days, Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem and were told there were no places to stay. The inns were full. Seeing that Mary was due at any moment, an inn owner told Joseph they could stay in his stable.
"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." (Luke 2:4-7)
Mary and Joseph settled on the hay in a stable with animals sleeping. Mary went into labor, and Jesus was born in the stable. The only place for the sleeping baby to rest was most likely in the animals' trough, known as the manger.
The Shepherds and the Angels
During this time, an angel appeared to shepherds who were watching their flocks in the fields near Bethlehem. The angel told them the good news of the birth of the Savior and Messiah, Jesus Christ. The shepherds immediately went to find baby Jesus, whom the angels told them they would find sleeping in the manger.
"And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" (Luke 2:8-14)
The Magi, Three Wise Men, Bring Gifts
After some time, three wise men, also known as magi, saw the brilliant star in the sky that rested over where Jesus was born. The three wise men traveled from a distant eastern country to find the new king. During the wise men's trip, Herod, the king of Judah, met with the wise men. Herod told them to come back and let him know where the baby king was so that he could also worship him.
The wise men continued to Bethlehem and found Jesus where the star pointed. They knelt and worshipped the Savior and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They then traveled back home a different way, knowing that King Herod did not intend to worship Jesus but planned to kill the baby.
"Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route." (Matthew 2:7-12)
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Read the complete Bible passages of Jesus' birth in the Bible books of Luke and Matthew below:
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This article is part of our larger Christmas and Advent resource library centered around the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. We hope these articles help you understand the meaning and story behind important Christian holidays and dates and encourage you as you take time to reflect on all that God has done for us through His Son, Jesus Christ!
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