RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
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Christmas: The Key People in the Nativity
Discover more about the characters in the Christmas nativity story...
Mary was probably just a teenager when she discovered she was pregnant with God's son. At that time an unmarried mother would be looked down upon and treated very badly by society. Mary was a young lady of great faith to accept God's life changing plan. Read her story in Luke 1.
Joseph was engaged to be married to Mary but was rather shocked to discover she was pregnant and he wasn't the father. He was a good man a wondered what he should do. That night in a dream an angel told Joseph not to be afraid to marry Mary as the baby was from the Holy Spirit. Joseph obeyed the angel and married Mary. Read his story in Matthew 1.
Christians believe that Jesus was no ordinary baby but in fact God in human form - this is called the incarnation. They also believe that his birth had been spoken about thousand of years before it took place. You can read these in Isaiah 7 and Isaiah 9.
Luke tells us that the first people to hear about Jesus' birth were the shepherds. These were tough men who were use to protecting their sheep from wild animals and were often seen as outsiders - too rough for polite society. That night they were really scared as an angel appeared to them telling them the great news. The shepherds did not hesitate to go and find the baby the angels had spoken about. Read their story in Luke 2.
The Wise Men
We know very little about the wise men - we don't even know how many there were. We do know that they came from the east and watched the stars. They are the complete opposite to the shepherds. In including these two very different groups of visitors, the gospel writers are showing that Jesus came to earth for all people - Jew and foreigner, rich and poor, accepted and unaccepted by society. Read their story in Matthew 2.
The wise men presented Jesus with gifts that are understood to be symbols or signs of who he was and the life he would live. Gold points to the fact that Jesus was a king - not of an earthly kingdom but of a spiritual one. Frankincense was a symbol of worship and myrrh was a sign of the type of death Jesus would have to suffer.