Advent calendars with a free Christmas Story booklet, the story and images below, are available from The Meaningful Shop.
Images © Alida Massari.
This is the story of the birth of Jesus. He’s not an ordinary baby. Not at all. Nothing about Him is ordinary.
More than 2,000 years ago in the Holy Land, the people were very sad because their country was ruled by the Romans.
The people hated being ruled by the Romans.
They wanted God to send them a king to free them.
Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth. One day, an angel called Gabriel visited Mary. Meeting an angel was very scary but Gabriel told Mary not to be afraid!
“You are going to have a baby,” the angel told Mary. “He will be called Jesus; he will be the one that everyone is waiting for – the promised King.”
Joseph was worried when he heard that Mary was pregnant. He was upset because he didn’t know if he should marry Mary.
An angel came to Joseph and told him not to be afraid to marry Mary, saying: ‘She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus.’
One day the Roman Emperor decided to count everyone and find out how much money they had! He ordered everyone to go to their place of birth.
Mary and Joseph had to travel to the town of Bethlehem to be counted. It was busy and bustling due to everyone moving there to be counted.
Hundreds of miles away, wise men saw a special star in the sky. “That star means a new King,” they said excitedly. They saddled their camels and left right away.
The star shone brightly as the wise men followed it.
What do you give a new King as a present? The wise men packed some very unusual presents. One wise man brought a gift of gold for the new King.
Another wise man brought frankincense which was used when praying to God.
The last wise man carried a gift of myrrh for the baby, a bitter and spicy perfume.
The wise men travelled to King Herod’s palace because they thought that is where the new King would be born.
King Herod was surprised to hear who the wise men were looking for. “A new King?” he said, “I’d love to meet him.” Herod was a very bad king and he wasn’t to be trusted.
He did not want Jesus to be King and wanted to get rid of the baby. “If you find that baby let me know,” he said to the wise men.
The star led the wise men on to Bethlehem. In a dream, an angel told the wise men not to go back to King Herod.
Mary and Joseph and lots of other travellers had arrived in their home town of Bethlehem for the census. There weren’t enough rooms for everybody.
“My wife is having a baby.” Joseph begged. “Isn’t there a bit of room for us?”
Mary and Joseph were so tired they would have slept almost anywhere. At last, someone said, “I have a stable. It’s not very clean but it’s warm and dry. You will have to lie down with the animals.”
But then there was something else – the baby was coming! It was a quiet night in the hills above Bethlehem. There were shepherds looking after their sheep.
An angel appeared.
Another angel appeared and then the whole night sky lit up with angels singing and praising God for the birth of the new born King.
“We’ve got to see him,” the shepherds all said. Without leaving anyone to guard the sheep, off they went down the hillside, towards the lights of Bethlehem.
The shepherds did not expect to find the new King in a stable with sheep and cows! But they knew this would be no ordinary baby. He was their new king, the One they had been waiting for.
Where were you born? Bet it wasn’t in a stable. That’s where Jesus was born – with smelly animals all around him. The shepherds were poor and smelled a bit. The wise men were rich and important.
It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that they came to see Jesus. They wanted to say, “You are my King,” to kneel and thank Him for coming.
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