1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Above is a Bouguereau which isn't a nativity scene either, but I thought it so beautiful that I included it, I also wanted to get a 19th century image in here as I have so many that are baroque. Below is a Raphael Madonna whose face shows exquisite tenderness. The painting by Raphael, sometimes called the Prince of Painters, is so lovely that the Rembrandt may be second to it. It is classical though and that is a more difficult taste for contemporary viewers. The Rembrandt is probably more approachable today. What do you think?
Below is the door to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem built over the cave where Christ is believed to have been born. Caves were used as shelter for livestock in biblical times. The church on this location dates back to 327, but the current structure was built in 565 AD, making it one of the oldest continually operating churches in the world. A text by Origen of Alexandria and early Christian scholar refers to the cave in the early 2nd century saying "In Bethlehem the cave is pointed out where He was born, and the manger in the cave where He was wrapped in swaddling clothes. And the rumor is in those places, and among foreigners of the Faith, that indeed Jesus was born in this cave who is worshiped and reverenced by the Christians"
Tradition has it that he was born at the spot marked by a silver cross beneath the altar below.artrenewal.org, from the top descending, Rembrandt, Georges De La Tour, Lotto, Barochi, Bouguereau, Raphael.