The Birth of Jesus Christ the Son of God
Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea between 6BC and 4AD. His birth was preceded by the Annunciation in which an Angel appeared to Mary and prophesied the birth of a son and commanded her to name Him Jesus. Whether the massacre of the Innocents is historically true or not as has been claimed by some scholars, what then followed was the escape to Egypt by Joseph, Mary and her son. We can assume that Jesus was probably about a few months old at the flight to Egypt.
Historically, we do not have the records of how long Jesus was in Egypt with His parents but it can safely be assumed that they came back when He was still a child because we have reports of Joseph going to the Jerusalem Temple every year and that Jesus Himself, according to the custom was taken to the Temple when He was twelve.
Jesus’ birth was preceded by the Annunciation and also by the appearance to Joseph of an Angel reassuring him not to be alarmed at the state of Mary. This is an interesting development because the question here was that Mary was suddenly found to be pregnant by Joseph who was her betrothed and according to the custom was already considering breaking his vow to her. He was, however, prevented from doing this by the Angel who reassured him that this was no ordinary pregnancy but a pregnancy which was holy.
The question of the Annunciation, however, and the purpose of it was different. Mary was approached by the Angel even before she got pregnant and was promised that she would bear a child and was to call the child Jesus. After the visitation by the Angel we are told that Mary offered the Magnificat in which there was praise to the Lord and a heartfelt gratitude for being deemed worthy for such Divine Grace.
The purpose of the Annunciation was to prepare Mary spiritually for the events that were to follow. The event (the Annunciation) was so stupendous that it became the most important event in her life and allowed her more and more to occupy herself with spiritual matters which made all base thoughts and feelings disappear. Her intuitions were so pure at this stage that it provided a soil upon which an Immaculate Conception could occur.
If an earthly woman was chosen to carry the Divine Spirit, she must be seen to carry within herself the basis for this in terms of purity of thoughts and intuitive perceptions. The soil therefore was prepared in Mary for an entrance of a part of God. In fact it is only on such a soil that a part of God can enter.
At that time we are told that there was a census going on and this has been confirmed recently that Caesar Augustus deemed that a census be carried out for the sake of proper tax estimations. Therefore, Joseph who normally lived and worked in Nazareth as a carpenter journeyed with his wife Mary who was heavily pregnant with child. Joseph was a direct descendant of king David and as such had to go to Judaea for the census since the law demanded that each return to their ancestral land for this. Because of the overcrowding there, however, there was no inn for them to stay in so much so that when Mary went into labour, they could only find space in a stable.
She gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem of Judea in a stable. It is interesting to note that one of the reasons advanced by the priestly aristocracy for rejecting Jesus was that as far as the writings of the prophets were concerned, no Messiah was supposed to arise from Galilee. The general supposition then was that Jesus could not be the Messiah because it was thought that He was born in Nazareth, in Galilee when it had been predicted that the Messiah was to have been born in Bethlehem. We now know historically that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
Jesus therefore was the expected Messiah but was not recognised as such by the existing religion.