The story of the birth of Jesus
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this must be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; and you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the son of the Most High. The lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
“I am the Lord’s servant.” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
In those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea, the town of David, because he belonged in the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary who was pledged to be married to him and expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy to all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel praising god and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jew? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this, he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he called together all the people’s chief priest and teachers of the laws, he asked where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem I Judea,” they replied for this is what the prophet has written: “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to ‘Bethlehem and said. “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where child was. When they saw the star, the were overjoyed; On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary and they bowed down and worshiped him, Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
- From: The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People
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