Christmas Unwrapped I hope you enjoy this
4-minute video from the Bible Society
http://www.christmasunwrapped.org.uk and perhaps you
might even manage to get the narration down in shorthand!
The Christmas Story. Mary was a young lady living in
Nazareth. The angel Gabriel brought a message to Mary that she was
chosen to have baby Jesus. This is sometimes called the
“Annunciation” which means announcement.
In paintings, Mary is often
shown wearing blue. Ordinary people could use a plant dye called
indigo to make blue clothes. Dyes for really bright blue and purple
were extremely expensive and only kings had them. This is why it is
called Royal Blue. In some paintings Mary is shown wearing Royal
Blue to honour her place in history as the mother of Jesus.
Mary married Joseph who was a carpenter. Joseph and
Mary had to walk from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be registered for
taxes. This was about the time that Mary’s baby was due to be born.
Nazareth is in the north of the country and Bethlehem is in the
middle near Jerusalem. The distance between them is 112 kilometres
or 70 miles.
The journey through the hills and countryside would
have taken about a week. The roads were mostly rough rocky tracks
and not at all like our smooth roads. They may have taken a donkey,
which was very sure-footed and able to carry people and bags over
the rough ground.
There were lots of extra people in Bethlehem, who
also came to be registered. All the guest rooms were full of these
visitors, and Joseph and Mary could not find a room. They had to
find somewhere else.
They may have stayed in a stable or a villager’s
house. In those days, people kept their animals in the lower part of
the house at night, to keep them safe. The animals also provided
warmth for the house!
This is where Mary gave birth to Jesus. The
only place to put the baby was a manger, which is a wooden or carved
stone box to hold the animals’ food and hay. Manger comes from the
French word for “eat”. (328 words) (Continued)
Hay is very good at staying warm and dry, so the baby
was comfortable. In those times people wrapped newborn babies in
strips of cloth called “swaddling clothes” which kept the baby warm,
and made him or her feel safe and calm.
There were shepherds in the fields at night looking
after their sheep. They had to keep watch all the time against wild
animals such as lions, jackals and eagles, as well as robbers who
might steal the sheep, or to help any sheep that got hurt.
an angel appeared and told them that a special baby had been born in
Bethlehem, who would bring peace and joy to the world. More angels
appeared, praising and singing, and after a while they disappeared.
The shepherds were amazed, and they believed what the angels said.
The shepherds decided to go into Bethlehem to find the baby. It was
probably their home town and not far away. It is unlikely that they
left the sheep unguarded. Some shepherds may have stayed to look
after them, or they may have taken them to a sheep pen in the town.
The hilly land around Bethlehem was used for food crops, olive
trees, vineyards to make wine, and for grazing sheep. Nowadays there
are still pasture fields around Bethlehem where shepherds look after
The shepherds found Joseph and Mary, just as the
angel had told them. It was polite to bring a gift when visiting and
it is possible that they brought a lamb from their flock. When they
left, they told everyone they met all about what happened that
The lamp commonly used in those times was a small
bowl of olive oil, fish oil or animal fat (sometimes called
“tallow”), with a lighted wick in a groove at one end. It gave the
same light as a candle. This was the normal form of lighting for
most people. Olive oil was best – animal fat was very smoky and
smelly. (331 words) (Continued)
The wise men were priests from a country to the east,
who studied the stars. They gave special meanings to the movements
of stars. In their own country, kings and governors would come to
them for answers to problems, because they were well-educated men.
When they saw the new star, they believed that a new king had been
born. This would be a very important event and so they decided to
make the long journey to find the new king, following the Christmas
star. They probably arrived about two years after Jesus was born, as
it was a very long journey.
They would have crossed the deserts and
mountains on camels which can survive very well in the heat of the desert, they
can eat tough plants and do not need to drink very often.
arrived they went to King Herod. King Herod did not want someone
else to be king, so he told the wise men to tell him when they found
the baby. He secretly wanted to kill the baby.
They followed the star and found Joseph, Mary and
Jesus. We assume that, by this time, Joseph and his family were
living in a house in Bethlehem.
The wise men brought gifts of gold,
which could be used as money, and frankincense and myrrh, which are
very expensive perfumes. These perfumes were made from the sap of
certain trees. The sap drips out and dries hard into lumps, which
can then be burned to make scent, just like we have scented candles.
They can also be made into perfumed oils for people to wear.
were special gifts that one would normally give to a king to show
great respect. An angel warned the wise men not to tell King Herod
anything, and so they went home another way. This made King Herod
Another angel told Joseph to take Mary and baby
Jesus to Egypt until King Herod had died. After Herod’s death, it
was safe for them to return home to Nazareth. (996 words)
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)
"The earnest, heartfelt,
continued prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous
power available, dynamic in its working." James 5 v 16
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