The Holy Night by Carlo Maratta, 1689
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The Birth of Jesus in a Manger of Bethlehem
Matthew 1, Luke 2
Sandro Botticelli, 1500
Adoration Of The Shepherds
Agnolo Bronzino, 1535
Adoration of the Child
After Joseph and Mary were married in Nazareth, a command went forth from the emperor, Augustus Caesar, through all the lands of the Roman empire, for all the people to go to the cities and towns from which their families had come, and there to have their names written down upon a list, for the emperor wished a list to be made of all the people under his rule.
Petrus Christus, 1450
Adoration of the Child
Giovanni Tiepolo, 1732
Federico Barocci, 1597
As both Joseph and Mary had come from the family of David the king, they went together from Nazareth to Bethlehem, there to have their names written upon the list. For you remember that Bethlehem in Judea, six miles south of Jerusalem, was the place where David was born, and where his father's family had lived for many years.
The Birth of Jesus Christ by James Tissot, 1895
When Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem they found the city full of people who, like themselves, had come to have their names enrolled or written upon the list. The inn or hotel was full, and there was no room for them. The best that they could do was to go to a stable, where the cattle were kept. There the little baby was born, and was laid in a manger, where the cattle were fed.
When the little one was eight days old they gave him a name, and the name given was "Jesus", a word which means "salvation." So the very name of this child told what he should do for men, for he was to bring salvation to the world.
It was the law among the Jews that after the first child was born in a family, he should be brought to the Temple. There an offering should be made for him to the Lord, to show that this child was the Lord's. A rich man would offer a lamb, but a poor man might give a pair of young pigeons, for the sacrifice. On the day when Jesus was forty days old, Joseph and Mary brought him to the Temple, and as Joseph the carpenter was not a rich man, they gave for the child as an offering a pair of young pigeons.
At that time there was living in Jerusalem a man of God named Simeon. The Lord had spoken to Simeon, and had said to him that he should not die until the Anointed King should come, whom they called "the Christ", for the word Christ means "anointed." On a certain day the Spirit of the Lord told Simeon to go to the Temple. He went, and was there when Joseph and Mary brought the little child Jesus. The Spirit of the Lord said to Simeon, "This little one is the promised Christ."
Then Simeon took the baby in his arms and praised the Lord, and said,
"Now, Oh Lord, thou may let thy servant depart, according to thy word, in peace.
For my eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast given before all the peoples,
A light to give light to the nations, and the glory of thy people Israel."
When Joseph and Mary heard this, they wondered greatly. Simeon gave to them a blessing in the name of the Lord and he said to Mary, "This little one shall cause many in Israel to fall, and to rise again. Many shall speak against him, and sorrow like a sword shall pierce your heart also." You know how this came to pass afterward, when Mary saw her son dying on the cross.
While Simeon was speaking, a very old woman came in. Her name was Anna, and God spoke to her as to a prophet. She stayed almost all the time in the Temple, worshipping God day and night. She, too, saw, through the Spirit of the Lord, that this little child was Christ the Lord, and gave thanks to God for his grace.
Thus early in the life of Jesus God showed to a few that this little child should become the Savior of his people and of the world.
The Nativity, Luke 2
||Questions, Lesson 1: The Birth of Jesus|
|The Pre-existence of Christ, John 1|
1. Where was Christ before he was born on earth? John1
2. What titles does John apply to Christ in this chapter? John 1
3. Why were Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem when Jesus was born? Luke 2
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." John 1
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1
Quotations for Careful Study
The first mention of Christ. And God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Genesis 1
The first promise concerning Christ, "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Genesis 3
Isaiah's prophecy about Christ, "He was numbered with the transgressors, and he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." Isaiah 53
Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nazareth.
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