The Story of the Nativity –

The Real Meaning of Christmas

As we celebrate Christmas, it is good to bear in mind the real reason for the season…

Birth of Jesus

Mary, Joseph and Jesus
Mary, Joseph and Jesus

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

Because Joseph, her husband, was a righteous man and 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.”

All this took place to fulfil what the lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means “God with us.” (Matthew 1:18-23)

The Shepherds Hear the News

Jesus in Manger Nativity scene Christmas Carols
Jesus in Manger

On the night that Jesus was born there were shepherds in a nearby field keeping watch over their flocks. Suddenly the sky filled with light. The angel of the Lord appeared and the shepherds trembled in fear.

“Don’t be afraid” said the angel “for I have great news. Today in the city of Bethlehem, a Child was born who is Christ the King. You shall find this Child wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

When the angel finished speaking, a multitude of angels appeared in the sky. “Glory to God the highest!” they sang. “Peace on earth and good will toward men!”

After the angels had gone, the shepherds hurried to Bethlehem. There, they found Mary and Joseph sitting near the Baby Jesus, who was lying in the manger. “An angel told us about the newborn King,” said the shepherds. “May we see him?”

Mary smiled and nodded. Joseph led the shepherds to the manger. They bowed and thanked God for sending them the saviour, who would bring joy and hope into their lives.

From A Christmas Stocking Louise Betts Egan

Peace, Good Will Toward Men

Adoration of the Shepherds by Guido Reni
Adoration of the Shepherds by Guido Reni

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

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.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto 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.

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, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

(Luke 2:1-20)


I beheld a Virgin


I beheld a Virgin of extreme beauty wrapped in a white mantle and a delicate tunic . . . with her beautiful golden hair falling loosely down her shoulders. . . . She stood with uplifted hands, her eyes fixed on heaven, rapt, as it were, in an ecstasy of contemplation, in a rapture of divine sweetness. And while she stood in prayer, I beheld her Child move in her womb and . . . she brought forth her Son, from Whom such ineffable light and splendor radiated that the sun could not be compared to it. . . . And then I heard the wonderful singing of many angels.

~ St. Bridget of Sweden

Quoted in The New Quotable Woman

Edited by Elaine Partnow