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The Bible

Birth of Jesus

Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem.Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem.Jesus was born a little more than 2000 years ago in a town to the south of Jerusalem called Bethlehem. It was such a significant event in the history of the Christian world that the modern calendar is dated from the year of his birth: AD or Anno Domini, meaning "The Year of Our Lord". The years before Christ's birth (BC, or Before Christ) are dated backwards from that year. (In fact, historians believe Christ was born in 6–4 BC, not in the year 0.) Judea, the land of Christ's birth, was, at the time, a vassal state of the Roman Empire. The Jews had their own king, Herod, but he ruled only with the permission of the Roman emperor, Augustus

The angel Gabriel appears to Mary.The angel Gabriel appears to Mary.

The Annunciation

Mary was just an ordinary girl from Nazareth in the region of Galilee. She was faithful to God. Her parents had arranged for her to marry a local carpenter called Joseph. But one day something extraordinary happened. While Mary was saying her prayers, the angel Gabriel appeared before her. He told her not to be afraid. He had been sent by God to tell her she had been chosen to be the mother of God’s son. She was to call him Jesus, a name which meant "saviour". This event is known as the Annunciation. Mary tells Elizabeth the good news.Mary tells Elizabeth the good news.

Mary and Joseph's journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem was about 130 km (80 miles). Joseph would have walked the whole way, but it is likely that Mary rode some of the way on a donkey (the Bible doesn't tell us).

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