While most people are familiar with the general story of Christmas, there are many details about Jesus’ birth that may surprise you! Here are eight interesting facts about the birth of Jesus.
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8 Interesting Facts about the Birth of Jesus

  • Lucas Hagen Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2020 2 Dec
Figurines from the nativity, Interesting facts about the birth of Jesus

Christmas time is a season of remembering the story of Jesus’ miraculous birth. While most people are familiar with the general story of Christmas, there are many details about Jesus’ birth that may surprise you! Here are eight interesting facts about the birth of Jesus.

What Is the Story of the Birth of Jesus?

The biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus can be found in the beginning of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The miracle of Jesus’ birth is that He was born of a virgin. Mary and Joseph were betrothed to be married but were not yet married. They had never had sexual relations, but Mary became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. The angel Gabriel came to Mary in Nazareth, and he told her that she would become pregnant and give birth to a son named Jesus. Gabriel also told her that Jesus would be the Messiah, and He would rule over God’s Kingdom forever. 

Mary was understandably troubled by this news but also accepted it gracefully, as she responded in prayer. Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem to register for the Roman Empire’s census. When they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Jesus to be born. Mary gave birth to Jesus there, and such began the perfect, sinless life of the Messiah. 

You are probably familiar with these details of the story. Here are some facts about Jesus’ birth that you may not have heard before. 

Photo credit: Pexels/burkaycanatar

8 Interesting Facts about the Birth of Jesus:

1. Jesus Was Born in the Same Village as King David

1. Jesus Was Born in the Same Village as King David

Throughout the Old Testament, God promised through the prophets that the Messiah would be born from the line of David. For example, Isaiah promised, “He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing it and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever” Isaiah. 9:7. 

To rule on David’s throne, one needed to be a direct descendant of David. David has long been considered the greatest king in the history of God’s people. Not only was Jesus born in the line of David, but He was born in the exact same little village as David. 

Other than being the birthplace of King David and Jesus, Bethlehem offers little in the way of historical significance. It is a very small village and has never been highly populated. 

2. The Birth of Jesus Ruined Joseph’s Reputation

Though we don’t know for sure the details of how Joseph or Mary were treated after her pregnancy became visible, we can surmise that Joseph’s reputation was probably called into question. If people thought the child was Joseph’s, they would consider him to be a fornicator; if Mary was believed to have had someone else’s child, then Joseph would have been considered a fool. Some people, especially in the town of Nazareth, could have viewed Mary as an adulteress. Joseph, after finding out about Mary’s pregnancy, planned to quietly divorce her to save her from public shame, but an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream confirming Mary’s story. Joseph chose to trust God and put God’s plan above his own reputation. One clue we have in the Bible that alludes to Joseph’s reputation is Matthew 13:55Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?”

It is interesting to note that Mary is referred to by name as his mother, but unusually, as his earthly father, Joseph is not mentioned by name but rather profession, ‘the carpenter.’

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Yurii Kifor

3. Jesus’ Birth Came after 400 Years of Silence from God

Not only was the birth of Jesus a miracle, but it was viewed by those who believed as the first sign from God in centuries. The last of the Old Testament prophets was Malachi, and he lived about four hundred years before Jesus. During that in-between period, the people of Israel assumed that God had turned his back on them. 

God had been very present and involved with his people ever since he brought them out of Egypt. Then, seemingly for no reason, God stopped speaking to the people through prophets. It is this context that made Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah even more wonderful for some, and even more far-fetched for others. 

4. Joseph Could Have Had Mary Killed for Adultery

Before the angel Gabriel appeared before Joseph to confirm Mary’s story, that she had conceived a son via the Holy Spirit, Joseph also believed that she had slept with another man. He viewed her as an adulteress, and the penalty for adultery in the Jewish law is death (Leviticus 20:10). 

Joseph, being a righteous man, chose to divorce her in secret so that her life would be spared, and both of their reputations could be salvaged. However, if Joseph were not a decent man, he would have had every right to sentence her to death. 

5. Jesus Was Probably Not Born in December

While Christmas has been celebrated on December 25 for nearly 1700 years, Jesus was not actually born in December. In fact, he was not born in winter at all! In the year 336 AD Emperor Constantine established Christmas to be on the winter solstice, which is December 25. 

The winter solstice was a common time for pagan holidays, as they celebrated the sun being out more. Many think that Constantine decided on Christmas being around this time to distract people from pagan holidays and to focus more on the celebration of Christ’s birth. 

Jesus may have been born in the spring, probably around March or April. Luke 2 describes the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks at night. While many shepherds would often live out in the fields with their flocks year-round, it is likely that they would be out with their flocks because their sheep would be giving birth to lambs, which happens mostly in the spring. 

Another thought is that Jesus was born in the fall, due to ways of calculating John the Baptist’s birth, and then assuming that Mary gave birth three months later. Based on the evidence in the text, there is no clear answer as to what exact time of year Jesus was born.

6. The Narrative Intentionally Draws a Contrast between Jesus and John the Baptist

6. The Narrative Intentionally Draws a Contrast between Jesus and John the Baptist

The manner in which Luke structures the birth narrative of Jesus is very intentional. Note how Luke crafts his first few chapters of his Gospel alternating between the stories of John the Baptist and Jesus. He begins with the foretelling of John’s birth, then the foretelling of Jesus’ birth. Then he gives the account of the birth of John, then the birth of Jesus. In chapter 3, he tells of John the Baptist’s ministry, then tells of the start of Jesus’ ministry. 

Luke uses the story of John the Baptist to show the contrast between John and Jesus. John the Baptist’s birth story is remarkable and is nothing short of a miracle. Reading this account on its own would leave many praising God. However, despite its significance, it still pales in comparison to the story of Jesus when read side by side. 

By interweaving these stories together, Luke demonstrates how, even compared to the story of a miraculous birth brought on by God, the birth of God in the flesh seems even more amazing than it would on its own. 

7. The Wise Men Were Not There

The Magi mentioned in detail in Matthew’s birth account were definitely not present at Jesus’ birth as most nativity scenes will convey. In the second chapter of Matthew, Herod commands all boys under the age of two to be killed. Why would he do this? Because it took two years for the Magi to arrive in Judea from Persia and tell Herod about the birth of the Messiah. By the time the Magi found Jesus, he had already reached the age of a toddler. 

8. A Manger Is a Feeding Trough

Many nativity scenes depict the baby Jesus lying in a beautiful wooden bed stand. However, this is certainly not what a manger in the first century AD looked like. A manger is a feeding trough for animals such as donkeys. They were carved out of stone, as that was the local material in the area, not wood. This was certainly not an ideal place to lay a newborn baby, but it was all that was available to Mary and Joseph at the time of Jesus’ birth. 

The general story of Jesus’ birth is well-known by many, both inside and outside the Church. However, there are many minute details that arise in the text as well as in history that shed light on what these events were actually like. Jesus’ birth is one of the most remarkable events in human history, and it is worth both understanding and celebrating. 

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/kevron200

headshot of author Lucas HagenLucas Hagen is a freelance writer, recently graduated from Taylor University with majors in Biblical Literature and Youth Ministries. When he is not writing for Crosswalk, you can find him reading great books, playing guitar, competing in professional disc golf tournaments, and spending quality time with his lovely wife, Natalie, and their fluffy cat, Woodward. You can read more of his writing at habitsofholiness.com.

This article is part of our larger Christmas and Advent resource library centered around the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. We hope these articles help you understand the meaning and story behind important Christian holidays and dates and encourage you as you take time to reflect on all that God has done for us through his son Jesus Christ!

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