The Nativity


Did you know...

that at Christmas we celebrate the birth of baby Jesus?

This story is about the nativity. The word "nativity" means the occasion of a person's birth, but because Jesus is so special, we all understand that it means the birth of Jesus.

There once was a young woman named Mary who lived in the town of Nazareth. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph.

One day an angel named Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, “You are a favoured woman, the Lord is with you. Don’t be frightened, God has decided to bless you. You will become pregnant and have a son. He will be very great and will be called the Son of God. 

Mary angel

When Joseph fell asleep, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The Angel said to Joseph, “Be not afraid to marry Mary. The baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will save His people from their sins.”  
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded. 

angel Joseph

Around the same time, the roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census was to be taken throughout the Roman Empire. He wanted a list of all the people in the Empire to make sure they paid their taxes. Everyone was to return to their own towns to register for this census. Joseph and pregnant Mary traveled a long way from Nazareth to Bethlehem, because that is where Joseph’s family came from.

roman emperor

When they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary’s baby to be born. They looked for a place to stay, but there were no rooms at the village inn. The only place they could stay was with the animals. Mary gave birth to her son, wrapped him in strips of cloth called “swaddling clothes” and laid him in a trough from which the animals ate called a manger. 

That night, there were some shepherds in the fields outside the village, watching their sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them. The shepherds were very afraid. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior has been born tonight in Bethlehem, in the city of David. And you will recognize Him when you find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped in strips of cloth!”. Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host (host means many) of others, all praising God. “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favours.”

When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds decided to go to Bethlehem to see this wonderful thing. They found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in the manger. Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. They returned to their sheep praising God for sending his Son to be their Saviour.

Mary shepherds

At this same time, some wise men from eastern lands had arrived in Jerusalem. These men knew that a new star would appear when a great king was born. They had followed the new star to find the new king. When they arrived in Jerusalem, they asked the people, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We have seen his star as it arose and we have come to worship him.”

wisemen star

When Herod, the king of Judea, heard this, it made him very angry to think that someone was going to take his place as king. When the wisemen said they were going to look for the new king, Herod told the wisemen to come back and tell him when they found the child so that he could go and worship him, but in reality, he had an evil plan to kill the new king.

king herod

The wisemen continued looking for the new king. The star went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.

When the wise men entered the stable where the child and his mother Mary were, they fell down before Him and worshipped Him.  They gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.


When the wisemen left, they did not go back the way they came because they wanted to avoid Herod. They had been warned about this in a dream. They returned home to their countries in a different way.

wisemen return

The escape to Egypt

After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. The angel told Joseph to take Mary and baby Jesus and flee to Egypt because King Herod is going to try to kill the child.

King herod

That night, Joseph left for Egypt with Mary and the baby.  

Herod realized the wisemen had outsmarted him. Hoping to kill the new king, Herod sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were under two years old.

Mary Joseph

After more time had gone by and King Herod had died, an angel appeared again and told Joseph and Mary that those that were trying to kill Jesus had died and that they should go back to the land of Israel, and then later on to Galilee. Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus went and lived in a town called Nazareth.

angel Joseph

Jesus grew up and went on to become the saviour of the world.  He taught people that God loved them and the way they should live.  There are many stories about what Jesus did called parables, and you can find many of them here on this website.

Images are the copyright Sweet Publishing (The Birth of Jesus, Wise Men Visit Jesus, Shepherds hear of the Birth of Jesus, 12 Year-Old Jesus in Jerusalem) for teaching purposes only, all rights reserved, and are used according to their terms of use - Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.   Distributed under a license with FreeBibleimages.    
Bible lesson activities

Learning Activity Extensions

Read about the story in the Bible: 
Matthew 1:18-24; 2:1-14
Luke 1:26-56; 2:1-20

Courtesy of, download and colour, or colour online:
Three Kings visit Baby Jesus
Adoration of the Shepherds
Nativity Scene with Family, Shepherds and Animals

The Nativity - Part 1

The Beginners Bible (5:18 min.)

The Nativity - Part 2

The Beginners Bible (5:50 min.)

The Nativity - Part 3

The Beginners Bible (15:34 min.)

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