This story is featured in Prepare the Way: Advent and Christmas Bible Stories for Kids.
The prophets in the Old Testament said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, a city of David, but Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth. Here is the story of how Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem, near the capital city of Jerusalem.
As you read this story, pay attention to the humble beginnings of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Emperor Augustus ruled over all the lands within the Roman Empire, including Israel. There were many people in the empire. The emperor wanted to know how many people he ruled over and where they came from.
He sent out a decree from Rome that everyone should briefly return to their hometown to be registered and counted.
Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, but Joseph’s family was from a town called Bethlehem. Bethlehem was a place where the descendants of King David lived. David was one of Joseph’s ancestors.
Because of the decree, Joseph and Mary had to leave Nazareth and head to Bethlehem. But Mary was already nine months pregnant. Her son could be born at any moment.
They arrived in Bethlehem and went looking for a place to stay. The city was very crowded. It was so crowded that not a single inn had a room for them.
One innkeeper welcomed them. He didn’t have a room for them, but he made a place for them in a stable in the farm behind the inn.
There would be no bed for Mary to lay her son in once he was born. Instead, there was a manger, which was used to hold food for the animals in the stable.
The time came for Mary to give birth. There in the stable, the King of kings was born into the world. There was no palace and no throne. This was the humble beginning of the extraordinary life of the Lord. They named him Jesus, which means “God saves,” just as an angel had instructed them. Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger.
- Why was Jesus born in Bethlehem instead of Nazareth?
- Have you ever helped someone even when it felt hard or impossible?
- Instead of demanding a room, Joseph and Mary humbly accepted a stable for Jesus to be born in. How can you accept disappointment with grace and humility like them?
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