The Nativity Story is a film that dramatizes the birth of Jesus.  It was released in 2006.  The film opens with the killing of many infants whose “crime” is having being born in and around Bethlehem during the reign of King Herod.

Mary and Joseph

Mary is a young fiance’ to Judean called Joseph. As she goes about her daily duties, she is visited by an angel from God who tells her that she will give birth to a child.  She is to name him Jesus as the baby will be a boy.  At about this time she gets news that her aged cousin, Elizabeth, is pregnant.  She goes to visit with Elizabeth and her husband, Zachariah, during the harvest season.  While she is with the couple, Elizabeth gives birth to a bouncing boy who is called John.  Later in his life, he will be refered to as John the Baptist.  When Elizabeth is settled in her role as a new mother, Mary returns to her home.

When Mary gets home, she is obviously pregnant. Her parents and Joseph are astounded by the fact and accuse her of breaking her vow of chastity.  She fails to convince them of her conversation with an angel.  They are all well aware that it is a shame for a woman to have sex out of wedlock and the punishment is public death by stoning.  Joseph decides to save face for him, Mary and her family by divorcing her.  As he contemplates on how to go about the divorce, an angel visits him.  To his amazement, he learns that Mary was telling the truth and he commits to being her husband and not to abandon her.

At this time, Ceasar Augustus decrees that a census is to be taken in the region.  This means that everybody is to return to the city of their birth for the head-count.  Joseph is a direct decendent of King David and thus, has to go to Bethlehem.  This is about sixty-eight miles from Nazareth across rough terrain.  In those days they had to use donkeys to travel. Now, imagine the donkey having to carry all the luggage, food for the trip, and from time to time Mary when she got tired of walking!  Since this trip would take several weeks they set off immediately.  Upon arrival in Bethlehem, Mary goes into labor.  As Joseph tries to find a room for Mary, he finds that there is no room at any of the inns.  One inn-keeper offers his stable to the couple which Joseph accepts. He quickly gets it ready for Mary and she delivers a baby boy.

The Tree Magi

At about the same time three Magi, begin their travel east to look for the King of the Jews as confirmed to them by angel Gabriel.  The Magi, Gasper, Melchoir and Balthasar, had studied the stars and knew that when three planets aligned to form the Star of Bethlehem a great event was to take place.  They follow the movement of the Star and decide to ask King Herod where they can find this King of the Jews.   The shocked King Herod tells them to continue with their travel east and locate the child.  He requests them to return and tell him the location of the child so that he, too, can worship the new king. This is a lie as he considers himself as the King of the Jews and has plans to kill the child.  As the Magi leave the palace, the Star has gone ahead and settled above Bethlehem.  Mary and Jospeh are pleasantly surprised to have majestic visitors and awed to receive their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The Magi are directed by the angel to go back home using the scenic route avoiding the palace. Enraged, King Herod figures that he has been had and orders the indiscriminate killing of all male babies and toddlers in Bethlehem. The angel appears to Joseph, in a dream, and instructs him to go to Egypt without delay. He hastily leaves Bethlehem with Mary and Jesus.


Cast of The Nativity Story Movie

  • Mary – played by Keisha Castle-Hughes
  • Joseph – Played by Oscar Isaac
  • Elizabeth– played by Shohreh Aghdashloo
  • Zachariah – played by Stanley Townsend
  • King Herod – by Ciaran Hindsas
  • Prince Antipas – played by Alessandro Giuggioli
  • Anna – played by Hiam Abbass
  • Gabriel – played by Alexander Siddig
  • Joachim – played by Shaun Toub