Nativity of Jesus

Adoration of the Shepherds by Dutch painter Matthias Stomer, 1632
Medieval miniature of the Nativity c. 1350

The nativity of Jesus or birth of Jesus is the basis for the Christian holiday of Christmas and is described in the gospels of Luke and Matthew. The two accounts differ, but agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of King Herod the Great, his mother Mary was married to a man named Joseph, who was descended from King David and was not his biological father, and that his birth was caused by divine intervention.[1][2] Luke's version says the birth took place during a Roman census, mentions an announcement to shepherds by angels, presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and gives the name of the angel who announces the coming birth to Mary (the archangel Gabriel). Matthew's version mentions the arrival of the Magi, the flight into Egypt by the family, and the Massacre of the Innocents by King Herod.[2] The consensus of scholars is that both gospels were written about AD 75-85,[3] and while it is possible that one account might be based on the other, or that the two share common source material, the majority conclusion is that the two nativity narratives are independent of each other.[2]

In Christian theology the nativity marks the birth of Jesus in fulfillment of the divine will of God, to save the world from sin. The artistic depiction of the nativity has been an important subject for Christian artists since the 4th century. Artistic depictions of the nativity scene since the 13th century have emphasized the humility of Jesus and promoted a more tender image of him, as a major turning point from the early "Lord and Master" image, mirroring changes in the common approaches taken by Christian pastoral ministry.[4][5][6]

The nativity plays a major role in the Christian liturgical year. Christian congregations of the Western tradition (including the Catholic Church, the Western Rite Orthodox, the Anglican Communion, and many other Protestants, such as the Moravian Church) begin observing the season of Advent four Sundays before Christmas, the traditional feast-day of his birth, which falls on December 25.

Christians of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodox Church observe a similar season, sometimes called Advent but also called the "Nativity Fast", which begins forty days before Christmas. Some Eastern Orthodox Christians (e.g. Greeks and Syrians) celebrate Christmas on December 25. Other Orthodox (e.g. Copts, Ethiopians, Georgians, and Russians) celebrate Christmas on (the Gregorian) January 7 (Koiak 29 on the Coptic calendar)[7] as a result of their churches continuing to follow the Julian calendar, rather than the modern day Gregorian calendar.[8]

Date of birth

The date of birth for Jesus of Nazareth is not stated in the gospels or in any secular text, but a majority of scholars assume a date between 6 BC and 4 BC.[9] The historical evidence is too ambiguous to allow a definitive dating,[10] but the date has been estimated through known historical events mentioned in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew or by working backwards from the estimated start of the ministry of Jesus.[11][12] Luke 2:1 states that Jesus was born when "Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria." All that is generally accepted is that Jesus was born before 4 BC, the year of Herod's death.[13]

Other Languages
العربية: ميلاد يسوع
azərbaycanca: İsanın doğulması
brezhoneg: Ginivelezh
Cymraeg: Geni'r Iesu
español: Natividad
føroyskt: Jólaevangeliið
français: Nativité
한국어: 예수의 강탄
Bahasa Indonesia: Kelahiran Yesus
interlingua: Nascentia de Jesus
עברית: לידת ישו
Basa Jawa: Kelairan Yésus
latviešu: Jēzus dzimšana
Lingua Franca Nova: Nase de Jesus Cristo
Nederlands: Geboorte van Jezus
norsk nynorsk: Juleevangeliet
Picard: Nativitè
slovenščina: Jezusovo rojstvo
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Rođenje Isusa
svenska: Jesu födelse
中文: 耶稣诞生