The story of Jesus’ birth actually begins in the little town of Nazareth, where Joseph and Mary lived. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary there and announced to her that she would give birth to the Messiah and that she was to name him Jesus. Soon after this Mary traveled to visit her relative Elizabeth in the hill country of Judea, perhaps near Bethlehem, a 70-mile journey that would have taken Mary about 3 days on foot. Mary stayed with Elizabeth, who was also pregnant and would give birth to John the Baptist, for three months before returning to Nazareth. As the time drew near for Jesus to be born, Mary and Joseph were required to travel to Bethlehem, the town of their ancestor David, to be counted in a Roman census. There Mary gave birth to Jesus.