The birth of Jesus is the premise for the Christian holiday known as Christmas. The Christmas story’s main highlight was Jesus’s birth.
But many people seem to wonder why Jesus was born in an environment that was such extraordinary. The following are some of the explanations surrounding the birth of Jesus.
The Story as Given in the Bible
The Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, had ordered a census of all people in the Roman Empire to be taken in their hometowns.
Since Joseph was from the house and line of David, he and Mary had to go and be registered in David’s town which was Bethlehem.
They had to embark on a journey from the town of Nazareth in Galilee.
Mary was pregnant at that time and had been betrothed to Joseph for marriage.
It is at the time when they were in Bethlehem that Mary went into labor. Since everyone had traveled to their hometowns for the census exercise,
Bethlehem was filled up with people.
There was no room for Mary and joseph in the guest rooms. This prompted Joseph and Mary to find room in a stable where they could rest.
Mary delivered a baby boy who she wrapped with cloths and then laid him down in the manger since it was the only place available for the baby would rest.
The Christmas Story Behind the Birth of Jesus
1) The headcount in the whole Roman Empire was the initial one to be done with Quirinius as the governor of Syria.
The government of Rome ordered the census because they wanted to ensure that taxes were being paid accordingly by everybody in the empire.
The exercise was to follow a Jewish manner which meant that all the people had to be listed in their historical tribes instead of the places they lived.
As a result of this, Joseph together with the expectant Mary had to travel a journey of about seventy miles to Bethlehem from Nazareth where they were at that time.
Joseph belonged to David’s royal family and Bethlehem was his hometown.
2) The journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem took them almost three days. They rode on a donkey to Bethlehem as it was the common means of transport used during those days.
They arrived at Bethlehem at night and couldn’t find a place to stay since all the guest rooms, which were known as inns during those times, were already packed.
Normally, Joseph and Mary could have slept at some of their extended families’ guest rooms but as a result of the census, all the guest rooms were already full.
3) Nearly all houses in Bethlehem were built in such a way that they had double levels, an upper or mezzanine level, and a lower level or the ground floor.
The people slept in the upper level while the animals rested on the ground floor at night. In the daytime, the families lived on the ground floor.
The animals were meant to provide some form of heating to give warmth to the house at night. The guest rooms were mostly on the mezzanine level of the house.
During the census, all the upper levels were filled up.
4) There are many people who argue that Jesus might have been born in September or October rather than December.
During this period, the Jews marked the feast of Tabernacles also known as Sukkot. It is believed that the feast of tabernacles was a seven day holiday that took place on the fifteenth day of the seventh month.
It was associated with the harvest period of the Jews. Throughout the festival, the Jews were known to live outside in temporary shelters or tabernacles.
5) Joseph and Mary were forced to sleep on the lower level of the house together with the animals.
The lower levels usually had a manger where animal food was put or sometimes a stable or stall that could be rented during the feast of Tabernacles.
6) The tradition during those times was that newborn babies had to be wrapped tightly in bandages that were long known as swaddling garments.
The baby had his arms together with the legs wrapped so that they couldn’t move.
The reason behind this was that they thought it made the baby be strong as he grows up and have straight limbs. Considering there was no space in the guest rooms, baby Jesus was laid down at a manger.
7) A theory exists which suggests that Jesus could have been given birth to out with the shepherds.
Some distance before Bethlehem there existed a watchtower known as Migdal Eder which was a special watchtower for the shepherds.
8) The exact time of Jesus’s birth has always had contradicting opinions.
His birth could have possibly taken place in between 4 and 7 BC rather than year 0. This is because members of the religious community during the Middle Ages came up with the dates we use now.
There is another possibility that baby Jesus might have been born during the autumn which is the time when the feast of tabernacles was celebrated by the Jews and rather than during the winter.
During the winter period in Israel, it can be very cold and most people thought that the census would have most likely been carried out in the spring or autumn.
This is also the time when many pilgrims paid a visit to Jerusalem, a town around nine kilometers from Bethlehem.
The story of the birth of Jesus has always different versions even in the Bible. Some of the important aspects of these stories can contradict each other.
The place and time of the birth of baby Jesus have different theories explaining it. Therefore it is not easy to have the exact facts and figure on the birth of Jesus.
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Main Points About Birth of Jesus
- In the Creation story, God made first the man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve.
- They were tempted by Satan the devil and they fell into sin.
- Because the human race had fallen into sin, God promised to send the Messiah to redeem mankind.
- According to the bible story, Prophets of old prophesized the birth of a savior who would deliver/save the human race.
- God then sent one of his archangels, Gabriel to the chosen virgin who will bear the messiah. He told her that she will bear the savior of the World and he shall be called Jesus.
As Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem to register for taxes where David was born, they needed shelter for the night, but there was not a single room in sight.
Eventually, a man gave them shelter where the animals were.
At night Mary gave birth to a son, who was placed in a feeding trough (manger) and in the morning the star had led the three wise men to where the baby boy was born.
Word Cloud for Birth of Jesus
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on the Birth of Jesus. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.