The Gospels tell us that Jesus was born in a cave or stable in Bethlehem “because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2.7) There, our Lord – God made man – was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. What a blessed place!

The Church has always held this place in high esteem, which is why at the beginning of the fourth century a small chapel was built around it so that everyone could visit it.

Unfortunately, this chapel was destroyed in a revolt in the 6th century. Soon after, though, when a period of peace reigned, the Emperor Justinian ordered that the chapel be rebuilt, but now much larger – it would be a basilica! It is precisely this basilica that continues to this day.

Here’s a tour of this holy place:

The exterior / Wayne McLean, Wikipedia, CC BY 2.0

The Door of Humility, entrance to the church. / Ian and Wendy Sewell, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Inside / Public Domain, Wikipedia

Inside / Public Domain, Wikipedia

The upper part of the Altar of the Nativity, above the place believed to be where Jesus was born. / iz4aks, Wikipedia, CC BY 2.0

Underneath the Altar of the Nativity is the place believe to be where Jesus was born, marked with a star. / Public Domain, Wikipedia

Icon in the church. / Ian and Wendy Sewell, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Christmas Eve in Manger Square outside the Basilica. / Footballkickit, Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0

[See also: QUIZ: How Well Do You Know the Biblical Christmas Story?]

[See also: 3 Ways Evangelical Protestants Curiously Turn Catholic Every Christmas]

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