tv The Nativity FOX News December 25, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
♪ good tidings we bring to you and your king ♪ ♪ good tidings for christmas and a happy new year ♪ >> ho, ho, ho. ♪ we wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year ♪ ♪ christmas eve in manger square at the church of the nativity in bethlehem. the birth of jesus christ has been celebrated here for nearly 2,000 years. the condition continues today, with joyful music and thoughtful prayer. for christians around the world, this is when god became man and a simple message of peace and love changed the world forever. ♪
hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn king. every year, christians around the world celebrate the birth of their savior with songs of joy and prayers of thanksgiving. hello, everyone, i'm lauren green. welcome to our special, "the nave:fact, fiction and faith." 2,000 years after christ walked the earth, how much do we know about the nativity story? is some of it tradition? is any of it myth? we take you to israel and palestine to trace the story of jesus' birth. a jaw-dropping view of this palace fortress of king herod, the demonic ruler who wanted to kill the newborn king. the road to bethlehem was long and dangerous for mary and
joseph. but to understand who jesus is, we start where his life began. >> we're standing in the town of bethlehem. you can already see it's now a vibrant and thriving city. we're at the heart of the city, which is where the city of jesus' day or actually the jewish village from jesus' time centered it right here at manger square. >> this is so different from the song, "oh little town of bethlehem." she takes us through the nativity, the site where the gospels tell us jesus was born. >> this tradition goes back to the second century, when the local people remembered where the families lived. >> bethlehem is located just six miles south of jerusalem and 80 miles from nazareth. a church has been on this site since the fourth century. this is quite impressive.
the columns, the first thing you see right here are the columns. sprain them. >> they are from local stone. many people thought they were marble and imported, but they were quarried from nearby and from our local rose colored granite that polishes to a high sheen and gloss. >> after the row roman emperor converted to christianity in 316, the four new testament gospels are the good news accounts of jesus' ministry, life, death and resurrection. but the birth is only found in matthew and luke. >> the christmas story occupies a few verses in matthew, a few more verses in luke. not at all in mark and only is hinted at very obliquely in
john. >> a former bishop of the church in england. >> so there's a sense of awe and wonder as you go back to those birth stories. this was actually how the living god became human. >> they emphasize different aspects of the events to bring out a different theological point. >> he is a professor of biblical studies. >> all these gospels present us the honest truth. they faithfully tell us what jesus said and did. >> scripture is not fast food. it's a luxurious banquet and you should take your time with it. >> father mark airy is a translator of the bible. >> it's not supposed to be a videotape that we can play on the history channel and watch. what it is, is it an account through a specific lens with a specific purpose to invite us
into the life in god and to the life in christ and to life in the church. >> god sent forth his son born of a woman. what was the reason for that? we could not find salvation on our own. we could not be freed from our sins on our own. so god enters into our world. >> for people who have not visited bethlehem, it may be surprising to learn that jesus was born here in a cave, not in a stable. >> so as we are standing in a natural cave that is made into the soft limestone here, we see first the grotto of the birth, the nativity. and the star marks the place where traditionally mary gave birth to jesus. as we step over to the left, we have the manger, which served as jesus' crib, according to luke chapter 2. then the wisemen who came to visit. >> the languages of the bible
writers were hebrew, aramaic and greek. >> why did they go into a cave to have a baby? luke says, because there was no room in the inn. now, this word "inn" is what trips us up every time. the greek word is a very simple word, and it means the guest room or the upper room. it means that the house is full and there's no privacy. rather than being able to give birth in the guest room, they take her into the basement cave where things are quiet, where they can have some warmth and gives birth there. but clearly she's in a family setting. [ speaking latin ] >> which means born in the cave and laid in the manger. a manger is a trough where animals feed from.
the swadling clothes are grave clothes. as christians, we understand his birth is a sign of humility and so is his death. they are the book ends of a life that is transformed in resurrection and that transforms our life. >> the old testament prophecy, the coming of a jewish messiah, that would reclaim jerusalem. but the setting of jesus' birth in a cave is not nearly as important as the prediction that he would be a descendant of the royal house of david, the beloved king of israel. and the birth would be in bethlehem. >> we have to try to remember the history leading up to the birth of christ. a great sense of unease among the jewish people because the monarchy under king david has come to an end. for five centuries, the jewish people didn't have their own king. they were under the babylonians
and persians and greeks, then under the rowmans. >> people asks the question, when is our god going to do what he said he would do? when is he going to act to bring justice and peace to the world? >> regardless of the facts, fictions and faith, the nativity stories become much more meaningful when we know the history of the first century in the holy land. >> most christians today think of christmas as a cute family festival with christmas trees and so on. it's actually the most powerful and subversive thing we counslde celebrating. instead of power being about the big boys bullying everybody into submission, this is, as jesus himself said, about someone who didn't come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. that is spiritually powerful and it is politically dynamite.
>> we'll return for a tour of the church of the nativity. but first, we go north to galilee where jesus lived and conducted his ministry. in nazareth, we'll see evidence of a first century house. we can't say jesus grew up in it, but we can be fairly certain he walked by. i'm nathan and i quit smoking with chantix. when my son was born, i remember, you know, picking him up and holding him against me. it wasn't just about me anymore. i had to quit. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven o help people quit smoking.
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when jesus began his ministry and met those who would become his disciples, a man from galilee asked, can anything good come from nazareth? the bad reputation because it was known for its lack of culture. turns out this modest place would have a much richer history than originally thought. nazareth, located north of jerusalem in the galilee region, is today a bustling arab community. one-third of whom are christian.
village life in jesus' time is re-enacted today in this open air museum located on a patch of farmland in modern nazareth. archaeology tells us it was a relatively new town when jesus grew up here. >> scripture says jesus of nazareth, but it also says jesus of bethlehem. bring those two together. >> almost every christian believes jesus was born in bethlehem. >> dr. james charlesworth is a minister and archaeologist. >> most scholars have come to the conclusion that jesus was born of nazareth. >> why is that? >> he's never called jesus of bethlehem. >> one of the interesting aspects is there is no serious counterclaim among the early christians that jesus was born outside of bethlehem.
>> the old testament includes prophecies that a messiah was expected to come from bethlehem. >> there were people who will say this is the time. we've been counting and calculating. we've worked out from the prophecies when this ought to occur and we think it's pretty much now. >> in recent years, archaeologists have found facts that support that prediction. >> our work in the jewish villages is proving that in the time of jesus, 80% of the jews came from judah. that's bethlehem. we are not only people of faith but we're people with minds. no one digs to get faith. so archaeology can't form faith. but archaeology is absolutely important for informing faith, and we would like to ask every question possible. what we can be certain about is he's called jesus from nazareth. this is where he spent his early
youth. >> the nativity story begins here in nazareth. the gospel of luke says the angel was sent from god to tell mary, a virgin, she would have a son through the holy spirit. we visited the church of enunciation, where catholics believe the miracle happened. just a few blocks away is st. gabriel's church, where the greek orthodox say the enunciation was. and then there is mary's well, the place where mary and young jesus would have drawn water. >> i don't think we need to say he was here or there, to affirm something beautiful and wonderful has entered our world. >> why the presence of angels in not only mary's life but joseph's life, as well? >> in the first century, they
believed the cosmos was full of demons and angels and god. they believed that they had experienced an angel. this gave them a meaning in life that maybe we have missed. >> what do we know about mary? >> she was living in a patriarchal society, where she on sans meaning because men give hermining. her dream would be to have a man to love her. so her dream would be to some day be respected and have a son. >> now, joseph, we don't know much about joseph. >> joseph seems to disappear in the midst of history. >> right nearby is st. joseph's, a church marking the home of the holy couple. tradition says the structure was built over joseph's workshop. when we looked at the actual translation from the greek bible, we discovered something else. >> this idea of joseph with a
saw and saw horse is probably a romanticized version of joseph. he was a building, he made things. >> it's a mistranslation of people who thought a builder was worked with wood, because the king james bible. but we have stone here. >> but remember, we do romanticize and joseph. joseph and mary were never mare yesterday. most people don't realize that. >> they get married later. >> no, it never says they married later. he's never called anything. >> in the first century, a betrothal contract. the virgin birth, how would that go over in a first century nazarene town? >> a lot of jews would say she
was raped by a roman. but the claim of being born of a virgin, as unusual as it seems, it was not unthinkable. >> a 13 or 14-year-old girl found to be pregnant and not married, that's a death sentence. >> this was the high point in joseph's life, because he could have exposed her. and you're right, she could have been stoned. he protected her. yes, you can have facts. you can have history. but at the end of the day, you don't want to always separate, was virgin birth fact or fiction? i can make a pow wow between christmas and easter. at easter we hear how important, how essential is it that jesus actually rose physically from the dead? would it be okay to say that jesus rose in a spiritual way in people's minds and hearts but his body is still in the tomb?
i would say no. in the mysteries of his passion and resurrection, we have to understand something about the mystery of the beginning of his life, where we say the mystery of the incarnation of god becoming man. >> so far no objects have been found that are directly linked to jesus, the way archaeologists have uncovered evidence of herod the great. just before christmas in 2009, a house from the time of jesus was unearthed just across the street from the church of the enunciati enunciation. >> for a long time we've been trying to find any evidence of jewish life here in nazareth. >> could this have been the home of mary and joseph and jesus? >> it is conceivable that mary and jesus and joseph lived here. it's much more likely that he visited here and a little boy named jesus was running around all these houses. if we find something from the first century and it was built
by a builder, one of the possibilities is joseph. but don't forget, another possibility is jesus. >> today, the direct route from nazareth to bethlehem is south on highway 6. it can take two to three hours depending on traffic. but for mary and joseph, traffic wasn't a problem. they had to worry about herod the great, bandits and the terrain. so which route did the holy family take? that's next.
it's more of a town than a village. it was called gamla, which means camel. >> she's dug throughout the holy land throughout her career. >> coming down, you see the breach in the wall where you have a hole that was bashed through the wall. then you continue down and the wall continues down the slope of the hill. one of the things you have to imagine when you're here is the roman legions stationed out here, all this artillery, the catapults. then they're bringing battering rams. >> 30 years after jesus' crucifixion, a defensive wall was built around this town to protect the 9,000 jewish farmers living there. that wall was an afront to their roman rulers. >> you have to realize that the r romans were ruling all of these
different native peoples. if they allowed the jews to gain independence, their empire would have fallen apart, because all of these other peoples would have said, the jews did it, we can do it too. here we have a town frozen in town in 67 a.d., the moment it was destroyed by the romans. >> at least 5,000 jews died here. others may have escaped. and it was abandoned for 2,000 years. these rouen ue -- ruins and the artifacts tell us how people lived here. >> it was life throughout the rest of the mediterranean world. by our modern standards, it was dirty, it was not sanitary. but those were the conditions that people lived in normally as a matter of course of everyday life 2,000 years ago. >> what was life like for a little boy growing up in first century nazareth? >> from a very early age, you
have to work in the fields or help your father with whatever his craft was. >> with is this? >> we're in a room of a first century house and we have a grinding stone for grinding grain. you had to grind grain before you could make bred. this gives you a wonderful impression of what life was like. the fact that your mother every day had to grind the grain to make the bread from scratch and wash the clothes by hand, all of the things that today would look to us to be very difficult and a very poor lifestyle. but this was the lifestyle of the majority of the people in the ancient mediterranean world. >> the battle at gamla was the part of the first of three violent revolts that raged across galilee. jerusalem under siege for three years, and the second temple was destroyed. over 1 million jews were slaughtered. this was during the time of the gospel writers.
but when jesus was born, the roman packs were at peace prevailed. >> when the romans take over this area, they actually issue laws that guaranteed the jews freedom of worship. by the first century, by the time of jesus, jews were building purpose-built buildings to accommodate these facilities and we happen to be sitting in a building in the town of gamla. all seats going around. you see some of the original columns and the decoration. >> religion for jews is about more than worship. and the romans did not interfere with the jewish laws for daily living. joseph was forced to travel with the pregnant mary to bethlehem, his ancestral home. luke talks about their journey from nazareth to bethlehem. which route would mary and joseph have taken from nazareth
to bethlehem? >> well, first of all, what i don't believe that they made that trip. i think that the birth narratives are inserted into the gospels, two of the gospels because only two of them have birth narratives and they're not the same, they different. but they were inserted to connect david with judah. to be descended from king david, he needed a jewish heritage. >> historical facts can help in speculating about their route. >> the main way to go from north to south through this country always, even today, is along the coast. that of course is going to take you far out of the way that you have to go, especially if you're going from nazareth to bethlehem. >> the coastal route was already a centuries old trade route that extended from egypt to mesopotamia. and it was a good reason the holy family would have avoided
going that way. >> so the easier way would be to cut south through the interior hill country. and by way of the area of jerusalem down to bethlehem. basically following the route that cuts through the so-called west bank today. the interior is hard because it's rugged and mountainous. there will be a lot of criminals running around. this is a third way. that is to cut east through the valley, and you follow the jordan river south towards the dead sea. when you get to the area of jericho, you cut westwards towards jerusalem. but of course, going south towards bethlehem and passing along the way, the site of where king herod the great was buried. >> the gospel according to matthew tells the story of another journey to bethlehem. it's about the wisemen who traveled from the east, guided prophecy and a star. they were looking for the
standing in striking contrast to the peace on earth and good will towards men message of the birth and life of jesus christ. ♪ [ "silent night" ] >> i think because the christmas story has been domesticated into this realm of fairy land, that we miss what certainly for matthew and luke is very clear. >> the gospel nativity stories may have different accounts of jesus' birth, but the message is the same. >> in luke, you have ceasar sitting on his throne saying we need a census to raise taxes. and on the far end of their empire, a baby is born who, within 100 years, will be the talk of the town around the roman empire. for matthew, we have the focus on king herod, who is an incredible bully and kills his people in his own family.
it's this little weak human baby who we are invited to see as not only surplanting the power structures of the world but changing the meaning of power itself. >> king herod is referred to as king herod. but the reader knows who the real king is. the real king is jesus. >> aaron gale and sarah yomens bring gospel analysis and archaeology into focus, at a place mary and joseph could not avoid on their way to bethlehem. >> herod was very concerned about security. the town is what we call a palace fortress. it was very important politically for places like this to be not just impressive, but intimidating. >> no matter which way you traveled from nazareth to bethlehem, this volcano shaped mound is clearly visible.
it's just one of herod's monumental building projects in the years before the birth of jesus. >> with just a little imagination, it's easy to visualize how beautiful these places would have been been. what we're looking at now are the bones of the structure. but imagine that we are in a palace where the walls are decorated with brilliant colors. there would have possibly be mosaics. water is one of the principle features of a roman palace. it also demonstrates a command of resource, and it's meant to impress. >> herod the great appointed as king of the jews by the roman senate, ruled much of palestine from 37 to 4 b.c. >> he rebuilt the second temple, made it much larger and more lavish. he redid and improved the water
systems in jerusalem. he built the fortress palace, and he built where we are now, herodium, another fortress palace. >> he's respected as israel's greatest builder, but reviled as a paranoid mad man who killed his wife, three of his children and jewish rabbis. in matthew's gospel, when the wise men followed the star and asked herod where the king of the jews has been born, he commands his soldiers to kill all the babies in bethlehem. the slaughter of the innocents. would mary and joseph have felt oppressed in a sense? >> i would have in their position. already feeling threatened, you know, just from the years of roman rule that this would have been a very intimidating place for them.
♪ >> why are luke and matthew's nativity stories so different? >> different audience, different authorship, different needs for the community. the gospels are four different perspectives on jesus' life. if you look at matthew, he says jesus came not to abolish the tora but fulfill it. >> why would the nativity story be meaningful for the jews in bethlehem? >> why is it in matthew's gospel? to conjure up images of moses. they both preach from the top of the mountain and interpret law. there are many strands that seem to be linking moses and jesus. >> matthew is saying to a very jewish audience, you need to pay attention to this story. this is actually your story coming to a surprising fulfillment.
one of the extraordinary things about the new testament is jesus is constantly telling stories which say, god's kingdom is arriving, but it doesn't look like you thought it would. and even his own cousin, john the baptist, he sends him a message saying, are you actually the one who we were looking for or should we be look for somebody else? jesus says, the lepers are cleansed, the mute are speaking, the dead are being raised. yes, i am the one that israel and the world has been waiting for. up next, more facts and fictions about the nativity story. and why december 25 might not be the actual date of jesus' birth. then our scholars tell us how faith transcends it all.
bethlehem area. >> anyone who wants to enter bethlehem to see the site of jesus' birth is required to pass through a checkpoint at this enormous wall. it's part of a 96-mile separation barrier built over the past ten years because of the friction between the israelis and palestinians. tensions between the palestinians and israelis go back to the establishment of the state of israel in 1948. and in 2000, the second infatatta left a high number of casualties on both sides. today it is more peaceful, but the threat of violence remains. but this wall hasn't stopped pilgrims and tourists. >> we have seen christians from every background, whether western christians or christians from africa all acknowledge
bethlehem as the birth place of jesus. >> the wisemen took a journey 2,000 years ago to see the messiah. >> the gospel of matthew introduces us to them and we understand they're from the east. it doesn't tell us the country or the number who come. >> while few facts are known about the wisemen, they play a big part in today's christmas celebrations. >> the three kings is an elaboration, and the only reason we think there are three of them is because matthew says they brought gifts. >> just as mysterious as the wise men was the sign they followed. today's astronomers suggest they saw an exploding star or maybe jupiter. or was the star of bethlehem a miraculous event which no one can explain? >> of course, there's a great irony, because they come to jerusalem and come to herod and they say, where is this child born, king of the jews? so there's a sense that the star has led them almost far enough,
but to the wrong king. we often miss that when we just do the christmas carol thing. this is much more about the fact of jesus is going to draw people from east and west and north and south. >> the nativity scene as we envision it today is largely a result of the devotion of st. francis, two had life-size nativity scenes with live animals. there are some elements of the way christmas is celebrated which go beyond what we find in the gospel text. >> so many re-enactments of the nativity show this drama about making it to bethlehem and how difficult it was. would he travel 90 miles with a pregnant wife? >> when i talked to my classes about that, the i always say, stop, pause, rewind. forget the christmas cards and the movies, because we need to hear what luke wants us to hear when he tells us this story. the story of the drama, the
story of being pregnant on the donkey and in labor does not come from the gospels. if we read luke, she's not about to give birth as she's traveling to bethlehem. that they arrive there before she's going to give birth. >> not far from the birthplace of jesus is shepherd's field, built on the site where it is said angels appeared and told the shepherds of the messiah's birth. >> luke focuses on these shepherds, and shepherds, as often today, were poor, they often lived outside the towns and only came in from time to time. and luke focuses on them as the ones who are right at the center of the action. >> but why is jesus' birth celebrated on december 25 in the middle of winter? >> if the gospel of luke is any indication of the actual time, we have shepherds out on the hillside grazing their sheep at night, we know it's not in the
winter. it's freezing here in the winter. but spring and summer, it would be lovely all night. the december 25 was chosen, partly in a response to pagan religions, which had a winter celebration. and the early christians wanted to have a christian focus in the wintertime. and it's almost symbolic in the sense that you celebrate the light coming into the world at the very darkest point of the year. >> the gospels tell us jesus was born during the reign of herod the great. >> there is also the question about the year of jesus' birth. >> herod the great, according to the standard consensus, died in the year 4 b.c. now, the gospel of matthew, with the story of the massacre of the innocents, said herod had children less than two years old murdered. so from that, if herod dies in 4
b.c., you count back two years and the scholars typically come up with a date of say 6 or 7 b.c. for the birth of christ. >> over the past 2,000 years, facts and fictions have been combined into the christmas celebration. but for christians, only one thing is essential. >> i think there are people who are looking for facts, and there are people who are looking for fiction. but i think people of faith look for truth. i think in both narratives there's the truth. and truth sometimes goes a lot deeper and a lot further than the detail. >> it isn't just about my private spirituality. it's something which must transform the whole of one's life, all sorts of other things out there in the world. coming up next, our tour of bethlehem and the church of the nativity. k with innovation.
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from where we are standing, we have jesus ancestorial home from the family of from the family of joseph. so although we know he group up in nazareth, we know that there were relatives in the area, there was an ancestral home because he was from david. and this tradition goes back to the 2nd sendury -- century when the local people remembered where the families lives. >> they have celebrated at the church of the nativity many times over the year. >> when asked about the place of the birth, this is where it was
to have happened. >> constantine sent his mother helena to the homeland to find relics and build churches. the church of nativity has evolved over time. >> this is the original doorway that was subsequently blocked and slowly the doors were filled in, perhaps as a defensive measurer to defend against maur auding soldiers on horseback and a small door that you have to enter into reverently. >> although burned and zroiz in the 7th srnt -- century, some of the church still remains. >> what are we seeing down here? >> we are looking at the floor of the constant tini and church. it is does in a biez and tine -- byzantine style.
no depiction of people or animals. so we see these pillars and this floor and that is about it. >> in the late 6th century they rebuilt the church and used it for the coronation of kings and others have fought at this holy place. the personans and the turks. when some wanted by the israeli force, some people took refuge here when the church came under fire during the siege. >> beautiful alter. >> it is beautiful. we're walking up to the main alter area of the church, from the grooej greek other -- the greek orthodox religious. it is unfamiliar to us from the
rest. but they have a beautiful screen with silver and gold depictions of the holly family and this is -- holy family and this is athena's grasp between heaven and earth and another small alter as well. here in bethlehem we have christmas three times. on september 25th for the western right and the catholics that celebrate mass there and bring a doll of jesus and put it in the grotto of the nativity, on january 7th we have greek orthodox christmas and thenar meany and christmas. so it is a very religious place. >> this is a totally different world. >> we have stepped from the east into the west and we've walked into the mid even cloister of the church of st. catherine,
named for st. catherine of alex and re auxt but the real star isn't st. catherine, it is saint jerome. we see a statue in the courtyard. >> he wrote about the tradition of the birthplace of jesus. >> and the most important thing jerome did is he translated the bible into latin and here at the chapel of the holy incense that commemorates the children massacred by king whood's -- of king herod. >> and this is where jesus was born, in a cave like this, sort of a cellar or basement of somebody home. >> that is right. and the burial caves are here behind this wall, deeper into the cave complex. >> these early christians
established the first monasteries and commemorated a site where some would say fact, fiction and faith come together, the milk grotto where the holy family hit when herod sent the soldiers to kill all of the babies in bethlehem. >> when mary was feeding her baby, some milk dropped to the ground. >> when the drops of mary's milk turned the walls white and according to brother lauren, people come here hoping for more miracles. >> and they would ask for the powder of her milk. we have small packets from the milk grotto stone. and every day they would put a small grain into milk or water and juice. they would drink it. there is a special devotional prayer if they are catholic, if they are not, they pray from
faith to be haled so they -- to be healed so they can have a family. i've had over 2,000 births from women who cannot receive. we receive every month ten testimonies, and they say we are writing to say thank you, because my husband and i couldn't have children for 22 years and we believed the virgin mother of jesus would help us have a family and we believed this, that it would happen, and it did because we believe. >> returning to the church of the nativity, one question remains. >> how do we know for certain this marks the place where it was actually born. >> i don't know if we can ever know for sure. the only way to know if somebody scribed in the rock, this is the home of jesus, mary and joseph, and then maybe we would know.
but the traditions themselves are more trustworthy that than many traditions associated with holy spots and the second thing is there have never been a competitor, no other site in bethlehem or other region has been proposed as an alternative but everyone from all of the traditions, western and eastern alike, look to this place as the place of the birth. [ singing ] >> wishing you and your family a very merry christmas. from the holy land, lauren green, fox news. and ah,
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hello, hello, everyone. merry christmas. i'm andrea tantaros, with greg gutfeld, kimberly guilfoyle eric bolling, and bob beckel and this is "the five." we are so happy you could join us tonight. many of you are probably curled up by your fireplace drinking eggnog or exchanging gifts with family and we're going to exchange gifts with each other in say moment too. but some we want to talk about the worst gifts men and women give each other according to the washington post. the worst gifts women give to men. clothing like ties. that is always