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II    Birth of Jesus

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in a stable, dimly lit and full of beasts of burden. A sign in the heavens tells wise men from the east of his birth and they travel a great distance following this sign: "the Star of David". When Jesus is two years old they come to visit and give him offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh. King Herod, ruler of Judea, felt his authority threatened by the prophetic birth announced to him by the three wise men. He summoned his army to the task of
killing all boys born in Bethlehem. An angel appears to Jospeh and tells him they must leave the country to remain safe. So, the family flees to Egypt.

Notes:

1. "Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit." Matthew 1 - 18

2. "...and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh." Matthew 2 - 11

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                    Birth of Jesus
GIOTTO di Bondone
No. 17 Scenes from the Life of Christ (detail)
Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua