Episode 1 The Nativity


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Episode 1

Four-part drama retelling the classic biblical tale. In Nazareth, Mary counts her blessings when her parents arrange to marry her to a local carpenter, Joseph.


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Bethlehem.

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It's beautiful.

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We'll make camp for tonight,

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carry on tomorrow.

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Joseph, please don't hate me.

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Mary!

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Come, your father won't be long!

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Mother!

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Thank you.

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How old is your younger daughter, Joachim?

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Mary? She's just turned 16.

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A good girl, well thought of?

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Yes, she is.

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And now a woman.

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-Yes, rabbi.

-But not yet married?

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No.

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Time we found her a husband.

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Jedeiah the stonemason has been without a wife for a year.

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He has four children.

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Jedeiah is a good man...

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Perhaps a little old?

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He's not yet 60.

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No...

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But it is well known that he has spent little of that time in the synagogue.

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My Mary is such a devout girl.

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-Well?

-They suggested Jedeiah.

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The stonemason?

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He smells!

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And his children are little brats, and he's older than us...

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both of us put together!

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Don't worry, I talked them out of it.

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So who did we get?

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-You're a carpenter, Joseph?

-Yes.

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A good one?

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Uh, no thank you.

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-Your parents are well?

-Yes, thank you.

-Give them our best.

-Do you have your own house?

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Uh, I'm building one now.

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Although I can only do it in the evenings when I've finished work. So, it'll be a little while yet.

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-How long?

-A year.

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-Oh...

-Or maybe less.

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Good.

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Mary, why don't you show Joseph around the farm?

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Your mother and I will follow.

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-He seems nice.

-Wasn't there anyone...brighter?

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He works hard, will have his own house.

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I had hoped for better.

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Still...at least he has teeth.

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I've seen you a lot...

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in the synagogue.

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-Oh, I go every day.

-Every day?

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Mm-mm. Yes, I love it there. It's...

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It's so peaceful.

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Best of all is when there's no-one else there, and you

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fight your way through the market and the soldiers and the noise, and...

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inside, it's so still and so cool.

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You feel safe, as though...

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God is cradling you in his arms.

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I hadn't thought of it like that before.

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If you're like the other men, you'll be too busy complaining about the money you pay to the tax collectors.

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-I'm not like them.

-No?

-No.

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No, I love paying my taxes,

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to Herod, to Caesar.

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I only wish there were more taxes.

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Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat thinking I haven't paid enough taxes!

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You're funny.

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Is that good?

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It's not bad.

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Do you think your parents like me?

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I think they were worried I'd have to marry Jedeiah.

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Oh, so they prefer me to a toothless old man?

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Yes.

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It's a start. I can build on that.

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Of course, it will look totally different once I've finished.

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And you've started?

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Yeah.

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Look...

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This will be the living area,

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a small kitchen here.

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Uh...

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Sleeping area...

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Maybe a guest room on another level if you ever wanted to come and stay.

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And here, I thought I could have a small worksh...

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Workshop...

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here.

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Looks like they're starting to think maybe Jedeiah wasn't such a bad idea after all,

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teeth or no teeth.

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My sister Salome married Zebediah of Capernaum.

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He has his own fishing business.

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-Mm-hm.

-I think my mother was secretly hoping I'd marry a rich man too.

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But I believe that what's in the heart is more important than what's in the pocket.

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And I hate the smell of fish.

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It will be a good house.

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I'm sure it will.

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And I will be a good husband.

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And I the best wife I can be.

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We'll arrange the betrothal ceremony for next month, with the wedding a year from then...

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when the house is finished.

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Receive this piece of silver

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as a pledge that you shall be my spouse...

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a year from today and for the portion of your virginity,

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according to the law of Moses.

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And now it's time for a daughter to dance with her father.

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CHEERING, ULULATING

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Mary!

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Come over here.

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-I should be by your side.

-Elizabeth!

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I'm so happy for you.

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-Joseph, this is my cousin. Elizabeth.

-Hello.

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-You'd better take good care of her.

-I intend to.

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-Is Zacharias here?

-Oh, he's busy putting the world to rights, as usual.

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So what are your plans after the wedding?

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To have lots of children.

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Well, I hope you'll both be very happy.

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Did I say something wrong?

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Elizabeth always wanted children, but she's barren.

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-Sorry...

-No.

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It wasn't your fault, you didn't know.

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-Come on.

-Oh! Simon!

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Simon! How lovely you're here!

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How are you? Come on, let's dance.

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I'm sorry.

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Come on, Mary, come with me.

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You have a lot of relatives.

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-Yes, I do.

-I've been prodded and poked by most of them by now.

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You've danced with the rest.

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They're happy for me.

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What about you? Are you happy?

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Yes.

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Well, then, I'm happy that you're happy, and I'm happy too.

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And I'm not just happy that you're happy. I'd be happy anyway, whether you were happy or not.

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-That didn't come out right, did it?

-No!

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But you knew what I meant?

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-You're happy.

-Yes, I am.

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And I think your mother's warming to me.

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-Oh?

-She cried when I thanked her for your hand.

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-What? No, really, I definitely think they were tears of joy.

-No...

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-May I ask you something?

-Of course.

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Why haven't you married before?

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I was saving myself.

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-For what?

-You.

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I mean, I didn't know it was you, or even what you would look like, but

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I knew there was someone like you out there somewhere.

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-Someone like me?

-Gentle, pure...

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Not scarred by the world.

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And even though the elders chose you for me,

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everything I say or do until the day I die will have one purpose...

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to one day make you love me.

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I'll try to be a good wife.

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I doubt you could be anything else.

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I shall be faithful to you always. I swear it.

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Then I shall be the proudest man alive.

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If you're so moved by my purity, then you won't mind me staying that way until we're married.

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Me and my big mouth.

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We have our whole lives.

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There's no need to rush.

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I think this chastity before marriage was thought up by elders who must've had very old and very ugly wives.

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It was easy for them.

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Should've thought about the people coming behind them.

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Isn't the sky beautiful?

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Makes me feel so small.

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My father thinks that all our futures are written in the stars.

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I believe it.

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Now where are we?

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-Look, there!

-Where?

-Just there!

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And our whole future, mapped out.

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What does it say?

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That we'll be married for 50 years and have ten children.

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-Ten!

-Maybe more!

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You'll need to build a bigger house.

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Do you think God can see us?

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I think that's the general idea.

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But does he see the whole world as one,

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or does he see every single one of us?

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Well, maybe it's like the stars -

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you can see them all, but if you concentrate...

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You can just pick one out.

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What is it?

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Come and see!

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Regulus, Saturn and Jupiter are forming a conjunction.

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A trinity. Jupiter has ringed Regulus three times already, and it now moves towards Saturn.

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Look!

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What are you saying, Gaspar?

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They will be as one star.

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-But that's not possible.

-I know!

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But it's happening anyway!

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This is what we've been waiting for.

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For centuries, the magi have studied the stars.

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They call us wise men, yet is that all we are?

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Gatherers of knowledge?

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Men, men who see everything, yet can't see the nose on their own faces?

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For more than a thousand years, we've waited for this!

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Generations of magi, all waiting for this very moment.

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Yet it comes to us,

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to this generation,

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and we betray all who've come before us by arguing amongst ourselves like children!

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Are you really saying it will be the star prophesied by Balaam?

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See for yourself! Show him the chart.

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Less than a year away.

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If it even exists.

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What does Melchior say?

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Show him the chart.

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Regulus, Jupiter, Saturn, a conjunction, Jerusalem.

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I never dreamed it would be in my lifetime.

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Haven't we always believed this moment would come?

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Why then are we afraid?

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Shhh! The prophecy is clear - a star will come out of Jacob and a sceptre will rise...

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out of Israel.

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Regulus is the royal star.

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Jupiter is the planet of kings, and Saturn is the shield of Israel.

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When they meet,

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their light will blind the world.

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I will retire to study the charts in detail.

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Balthasar, you may join me to help clarify your findings. Gaspar, too.

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You're certain your calculations are correct?

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I've checked it a dozen times. More.

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Do you really believe it could be Balaam's star?

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What I believe is not important.

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The prophecy is far more than just a star forming to herald a new king in Israel.

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Balaam also believed that one day there would be a bridge between Heaven

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and Earth - that it would herald

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not just a king,

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but a king blessed by God himself.

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There you are!

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Eh, this is how it works.

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If we're gonna look after each other,

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we got to stick together.

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So no more... No more hiding in rocks, OK?

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How do you feel?

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Better.

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Did you find it?

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In the rocks at the bottom of the hill.

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Poor thing. It must've been terrified.

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I think it's learnt its lesson.

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-Do you need anything?

-No.

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Do we have enough for the taxes?

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Everything's fine.

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Just rest.

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Come on, get in line.

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Get your taxes ready.

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Next.

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Thomas, son of Abimael. Shepherd.

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Five denarii.

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My wife is sick.

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We had a child, she lost a lot of blood.

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We needed medicine.

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-Seven, next week.

-Yes. Thank you.

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If it's short again, we'll come and take livestock.

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Next.

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Name.

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May the source of strength bless the ones that came before us

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help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing.

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Amen.

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Thomas, how is your wife?

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Still a little weak.

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I will call by and see her.

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Thank you.

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You seem troubled.

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I couldn't afford my taxes.

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Leah's medicine.

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Now it's more next week.

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Herod tries to buy our favour with his new temple,

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yet he takes food from our mouths to build it.

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We should all refuse to pay

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and march on his palace.

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Our time will come.

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Messiah will come.

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One man to fight Herod and the whole Roman Empire?

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Not just a man...

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The Messiah will be sent by God.

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And what concern would someone like that have for a shepherd?

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I try to believe, Rabbi,

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but it's hard.

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Not to believe is to live without hope.

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When we're married, will you still come to watch me work every day?

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-And who would take care of the house?

-We could get a servant.

-On a carpenter's wages?

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I'll work twice as quickly with you there, so will earn twice as much.

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-That doesn't seem to have worked this morning.

-It's too hot!

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All the more need for a roof!

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Are you telling me off?

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-No.

-You're turning into your mother, I knew it.

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If I'm going to be your wife, I need a house to live in.

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It's only been a few months.

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I think it's going really well.

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For a house without a roof.

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-I can't see.

-That's the whole idea.

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-But what are you doing?

-It's not what I'm doing, it's what I've done.

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-Well?

-Oh, it's beautiful!

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Then you will fit perfectly.

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-I'm sorry.

-Please, don't be.

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If I'd known you'd be this happy, I would've worked faster.

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It's perfect.

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Couldn't we just have a quiet wedding?

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-Quiet?

-Just you and me.

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I think the rabbi needs to be there.

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Oh, all right, just one rabbi.

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And our parents and family...

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I'm useless at formal things, I spill drinks and bump into people.

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-I'll take care of you.

-Your mother keeps looking at me.

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Like she's sizing me up all the time. She looks at me, then she does this...

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sighing thing.

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-She likes you.

-If you like someone, you smile at them, you don't sigh.

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Oh, I do love you, you're so funny...

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Say that again.

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You're funny!

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No, not the funny bit, the other bit, the bit before that bit.

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My mother likes you.

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No, after that... before "you're funny".

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-You said you loved me.

-Did I?

-Yes.

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I mean, I know I love you and I wanted you to love me and I thought that one day you might.

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But you just said it...out loud.

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Then it must be true.

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So you do... Love me?

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Yes, I love you.

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-Can everyone come to the wedding now?

-Everyone!

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The whole world!

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Strangers, lepers, even Romans!

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The rabbi needs to speak to you both.

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Hello, Mary.

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Don't be afraid.

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Who are you?

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My parents are just inside!

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They're sleeping.

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And you mustn't worry,

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God is with you.

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He holds you in much favour.

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Please...

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Sit.

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You're safe,

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I promise.

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What do you want with me?

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My name is Gabriel,

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and I have stood in the presence of God

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and he has sent me to you.

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I don't understand.

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You have been chosen.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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E-mail subtitling@bbc.co.uk

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In Nazareth, Mary counts her blessings when her parents arrange to marry her to a local carpenter, Joseph. He has a good heart, and she grows to love him as he struggles to build them a home under her mother's watchful eye. In Bethlehem, Thomas the shepherd struggles to pay his taxes while his wife lies ill. And out in the east, the Magi gather to discuss signs in the heavens that herald a great event.