"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." - Luke 2:7
The New Testament - A Brief Overview
Brief History of the Birth of Jesus Scriptures and Topics Covered: The Genealogy of Jesus (Mat 1:1-17; Lk 3:23-38). In Nazareth Gabriel Announces to Mary (Lk 1:26-38). Mary's Visits Elizabeth in Judea (Lk 1:39-56). An Angel Comes to Joseph in a Dream (Mat 1:18-25). The Decree of Augustus Caesar (Lk 2:1-3). The Birth of Christ in Bethlehem (Lk 2:4-7). The First Visitors were Shepherds (Lk 2:8-20). The Second Visitors were the Magi (Mat 2:1-12). In Jerusalem Jesus is Circumcised and Presented in the Temple (Lk 2:21-38).
The Angel Gabriel Comes to Mary
The Angel Gabriel came to a young virgin in the city of Nazareth whose name was Mary. she was a relative of Elizabeth who was six months pregnant with John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah. Gabriel announced the good news to Mary that God would fulfill his promises to his people Israel, and that she would bear the special privilege of giving birth to the Messiah. Mary was a descendent of King David and it was predicted that the Messiah must come from the line of King David. Mary was betrothed to a man named Joseph who was also from the line of King David, but the holy child would not be an offspring of Joseph, but Mary would be impregnated by God himself, and Joseph would only be his legal father. Mary received the good news and trusted God.
"The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." - Luke 1:35
Mary Visits Her Relative Elizabeth
Mary, upon hearing the good news immediately made arrangements to go and visit her relative Elizabeth in the hill country of Judea. It was quite a long journey from Nazareth to the hill country of Judea, and travel could be very difficult in those days. When she arrived Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and the child lept in her womb. Elizabeth greeted Mary with a song of praise about the Lord, who Mary was about to give birth to. Mary responded with a song as well that became traditionally known as the "Magnificat". Mary stayed with her cousin Elizabeth for the next three months.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see [it] together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it]. Isaiah 40:3-5
Gabriel Encourages Joseph
The Bible reveals that when Mary began to show her pregnancy Joseph became very confused. He was a righteous man and follow the Lord with all of his heart. According to the law he was required to divorce Mary, for she was not a virgin any longer and could not prove it on her wedding day. This was a very important ceremony in first century Israel, the proof of virginity. While Joseph was contemplating divorcing her secretly the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream revealing that the child in her womb was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The Lord encouraged Joseph that the child would be named Jesus, which means in Hebrew "Jehovah is salvation" for Jesus will "save his people from their sins". Joseph believe the Lord and obeyed him.
"Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS." Matthew 1:22-25
The Decree of Augustus
the Roman Emperor Augustus gave a decree of the whole world would be taxed, and that a census would be taken. He ordered every Jew to return to their ancestral home for the census. Both Joseph and Mary were descendents of David, who was from Bethlehem. They were required by the Roman Empire to immediately go to Bethlehem or be put to death. Joseph knew that Mary was nine months pregnant and ready to give birth, but he obeyed the command of Caesar knowing that God would be with them as they began the long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. According to tradition this was during the cold winter month of December.
The Bible records that as they arrived in Bethlehem the Inn was full and there was no room for them. Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger, in a stable for animals with in Bethlehem. The Bible does not record all of the details, but the King of the universe the creator of all things entered our world in the most humblest of places. Mary and Joseph wrapped him in swaddling clothes.
Painted sketch of Bethlehem in the 19th Century
Painted Sketch of an Eastern Inn
The Announcement to the Shepherds
The moment Jesus was born there were shepherds watching over their flocks in the hills of Judea at nighttime. Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared in the glory of the Lord shine brightly all around them. He said to them, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." Suddenly a multitude of angels appeared praising God and saying "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men " and the shepherds decided together to go to Bethlehem and see this child, and they found him lying in a manger.
Painted Sketch of The Shepherds of Bethlehem
The Bible reveals that at this time wise men from the East came to Jerusalem seeking the King of the Jews to worship Him, Herod became enraged. He called in the chief priests and the scribes inquiring from them where the Messiah was predicted to be born according to the Scriptures. They revealed to him the prophecy in Micah 5:2 which reveals Bethlehem as the birthplace of the Messiah. He then told the Magi to go and find the child and let him know where the child was so that he can also come and worship him. But they were warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod. They once again saw the star which they had seen in the East and rejoiced, the star led them to the house where Joseph and Mary and the child were, and it stood over the child. They worshipped Him, presented Him gifts, and returned into their country by a different way.
"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh." Matthew 2:11
Painted Sketch of the Magi
Jesus Is Circumcised and Presented in the Temple
After eight days from the birth of Jesus, He was circumcised and given the name Jesus according to the word of the Angel of the Lord. Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to Jerusalem to be presented before the Lord at the Temple, and to make a sacrifice according to the law. They're offering was a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons which indicates that they were poor, because the more wealthy could afford larger sacrifices. At this time there was a man in the Temple named Simeon, and he was waiting for the promises of God to be fulfilled Israel. When he saw Jesus he knew that his promises had come true, for the Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would see the Lords Messiah before he would see his own death.
"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." Luke 2:29-32
He also blessed them and said this to Mary: "Behold, this [child] is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
There was also an old woman named Anna was a prophetess and she gave thanks to the Lord and give a word about Jesus "to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem."
The Bible says that Jesus "grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him."