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Nativity of Jesus
Third Joyful Mystery of the Rosary

Nativity of Jesus - Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary
The Holy Night Nativity - Antonio de Correggio - 1522 - 1530

Introduction

In the heart of the Joyful Mysteries, the Nativity of Jesus unfolds as a moment of divine grace, radiating with profound significance for Christians. This sacred event from luke’s gospel marks the birth of Jesus Christ, in Bethlehem, fulfilling ancient prophecies and illuminating the world with the Light of God. The Virgin Mary, the humble handmaiden chosen by the Almighty, and Joseph, the righteous carpenter, journeyed to Bethlehem for the census.

Arriving in Bethlehem, they faced the challenge of finding shelter, yet the humble stable became the sacred scene where the Son of God entered the world. Amidst the quietude of the night, angels heralded this wondrous birth to shepherds, inviting them to witness the Savior’s arrival. Guided by a brilliant star, wise men from the East brought gifts to honor the newborn King.

In the simplicity of the manger, divinity embraced humanity, and the world beheld the miracle of the Nativity. This mystery encapsulates the essence of God’s love, manifested in the vulnerable form of a newborn, inviting all to contemplate the profound mystery of the Incarnation. As we reflect on the third Joyful Mystery, we are drawn into the warmth of the Holy Family’s love and the transformative power of God’s entry into human history.

Scriptures of the Nativity of Jesus

Luke 2:1-20

And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, everyone into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: For, this day, is  born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.

And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us. And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Scripture Commentary

Luke 2:1-20 recounts the familiar christian tradition and cherished narrative of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. This passage is central to the Christian celebration of Christmas and carries profound theological significance. Let’s explore a commentary on this passage:

Verses 1-7: The Birth in Bethlehem

The opening verses set the historical context, highlighting the decree from Caesar Augustus, the roman emperor, for a census of the entire roman world that required people to register in their ancestral towns. This directive leads Joseph and Mary to travel from a town called Nazareth to Bethlehem, fulfilling the prophecy of Micah 5:2.

The humble circumstances of Christ’s birth in a manger due to the lack of lodging accentuate the theme of the Messiah’s unexpected and humble entry into the world.

Verses 8-14: The Shepherds and the Angelic Announcement

The scene moves to the fields outside Bethlehem, where shepherds are tending to their sheep. Suddenly, an angel appeared, bringing with it a message of incredible joy: the long-awaited Savior has been born. This moment is filled with divine meaning, as it signifies God revealing himself to humanity and the fulfillment of ancient prophecies.

The angels declare, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” This statement is profound, highlighting the cosmic importance of Jesus’ birth. It connects his arrival to the glory of God and promises peace to those who receive him with open hearts. This scene emphasizes the heavenly significance of Jesus’ birth and foreshadows the peace and salvation he will bring to the world.

Verses 15-20: The Shepherds' Response

Nativity of Jesus - Adoration of the Shepherds
The Adoration of the Shepherds – Bartolome Esteban Murillo – 1650

The shepherds, recipients of this divine message, promptly go to Bethlehem to see the newborn Christ child. Their witness to the fulfillment of the angel’s words underscores the authenticity of the events. Their response is marked by awe and glorifying God, and they share the news of the birth of Jesus, leaving those who hear amazed.

Overall Significance:

This passage holds several theological implications:

Fulfillment of Prophecy

The narrative emphasizes the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, particularly Micah 5:2, connecting Jesus’ birth to the promised Messiah from the line of David.

Incarnation and Humility

The circumstances of the birth of Jesus, in a lowly stable, highlight the humility and accessibility of the Incarnation. The Savior’s entry into the world reflects divine humility and identification with humanity.

Angelical Proclamation

The angelic announcement underscores the transcendent and cosmic dimensions of the birth of Jesus. The declaration of peace on earth signals the advent of reconciliation between God and humanity through the coming Messiah.

Shepherds as Witnesses

The choice of shepherds as the first witnesses to the birth is significant. In the societal context of that time, shepherds were considered lowly and marginalized. This choice underscores the inclusive nature of the Gospel message, extending God’s grace to all.

Response of Awe and Worship

The shepherds’ immediate response of awe, glorifying and praising God, serves as a model for believers. Their role as messengers, sharing the news with others, echoes the Great Commission to spread the Gospel.

In summary, Luke 2:1-20 narrates the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, intertwining historical events with divine revelation. The passage emphasizes the fulfillment of prophecy, the humility of the Incarnation, the cosmic significance of Jesus’ birth, and the inclusive nature of the Gospel. The response of the shepherds serves as an example of humble worship and immediate proclamation, encapsulating the joyous essence of the Christmas narrative.

Feast of the Nativity of Jesus

The feast day for the Nativity of Jesus is celebrated on December 25th, commonly known as Christmas Day. This day marks the birth of Jesus Christ and is observed by Christians worldwide. It is a time for joyous celebrations, gift-giving, and remembering the story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, as recounted in the Bible.

Download our Joyful Mysteries pdf Document

We have a Joyful Mysteries pdf, available for your use. It is free to download and share. It can be printed and used for praying the Rosary and is an excellent aid for anyone, especially for beginners.  The author still uses them to this day.

To view our Joyful Mysteries pdf page, click the link.  To go straight to the pdf, click the button below.

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Last Publish:  February 21, 2024

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