The people of Jerusalem are suffering under the reign of HEROD, and are hoping to be delivered from the Roman occupiers by the Messiah # whose arrival, it is rumored, is to take place very soon. Unlike his nephew JUDAS, who wants to join the zealots (freedom fighters), the 35-year-old widower JOSEPH is not interested in participating in any fighting against the Romans. He is well aware that such an uprising would be pointless, and Judas's death shortly afterwards confirms this. The other men in the village have to hide, and Joseph gets a visit from JOACHIM and ANNA, asking him to marry their unprotected 14-year-old daughter MARY. Joseph agrees, but promises to preserve her chastity. Nevertheless, one day Mary tells him, in Anna's presence, that she is pregnant. Believing in this immaculate conception is very difficult for Joseph, as is the message that her son JESUS will end the reign of Herod, which is announced to him in a vision. Their son is born in a Bethlehem cattle shed and ...