- Word count: 413
- Category: Christmas
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This paper talks about Jesus and the nativity scene. The Nativity of Jesus, also The Nativity, refers to the accounts of the birth of Jesus, primarily based on the two accounts in the gospels of Luke and Matthew, and secondarily on some apocryphal texts. The word is anglicized from Latin De nativitate Iesu, a section title in the Vulgate. The canonical gospels of Luke and Matthew describe Jesus being born in Bethlehem, in Judea, to a virgin mother. Luke features the Christmas story, in which Joseph and Mary, as part of a census, travel to Bethlehem, where Jesus is born and laid in a manger. Angels proclaim him a savior for all people, and shepherds come to adore him. In Matthew, wise men follow a star to Bethlehem to bring gifts to Jesus, born the King of the Jews. King Herod massacres all the toddler boys in Bethlehem to kill Jesus, but the family flees to Egypt and later settles in Nazareth. Scholars debate whether these two accounts can be reconciled or not, and some view the narratives as non-historical.
Some scholars view the discussion of historicity as secondary, given that gospels were primarily written as theological documents rather than chronological timelines. Other traditional Christian scholars maintain that the two accounts do not contradict each other, pointing to the similarities between them. The main religious celebration among members of the Catholic Church and other Christian groups is the Church service on Christmas Eve or on the morning of Christmas Day. During the forty days leading up to Christmas, the Eastern Orthodox Church practices the Nativity Fast, while the majority of Christian congregations (including the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, many Mainline churches, and Baptists) begin observing the liturgical season of Advent four Sundays before Christmas—both are seen as times of spiritual cleansing, recollection and renewal to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
In Christian theology, the Nativity of Jesus concerns the Incarnation of Jesus as the second Adam, in fulfilment of the divine will of God, undoing the damage caused by the fall of the first man, Adam. The Artistic depiction of Nativity has been a major subject for Christian artists since the 4th century. Since the 13th century, the Nativity scene has emphasized the humility of Jesus and promoted a more tender image of him, as a major turning point from the early “Lord and Master” image, affecting the basic approaches of Christian pastoral ministry.