The very first Christmas Eve originated long ago on a cold night as a man sought shelter for his pregnant wife.

Biblical texts describe how Roman Emperor Ceasar Augustus issued a decree demanding that all those within the Roman empire return to the city of their birth for a census. So a man named Joseph made a ninety mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem with his pregnant wife Mary to obey the emperor.

Joseph, as the biblical Gospel of Matthew describes, had discovered that Mary was pregnant before they were married. “Being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame,” Joseph had “resolved to divorce her quietly.”

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