Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
 And 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:)
 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
 And 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.
Blake's tempera image of the Nativity painted on copper in 1799 for Thomas Butts belongs to the Philadelphia Museum. An enlargement of the image can be viewed in the Blake Archive.
Most striking in this image is the portrayal of the infant Jesus. The child is seen as a spiritual rather than a physical being. He is not subject to the force of gravity for he is suspended in the air. There is no need for additional light in the stable for he is the source of light which radiates to his surroundings. He has left his father and mother and is moving toward Elizabeth who holds her promised son, the infant John, on he lap. Blake's first illustration to Milton's On the Morning of Christ's Nativity is an expansion of this picture but the all important soaring Christ Child appears in both. In another post he is identified with the weeping babe.