The Birth of Jesus

From the Gospels According to Luke and Matthew

(THE Christmas Story)

 

In the days of Herod the king of Judea, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came to her and said,

“Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”


But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.  Then the angel said to her,

“Fear not, Mary: for you have found favor with God.  Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.”  Then the angel departed from her.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed; everyone in his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, 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 betrothed, who was with child.  While they were there, the time came for her to have her child.  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.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.  The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.  The angel said to them,

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”  So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.

When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child.  All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.  And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.

Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.

Now there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? For we have seen his star at its rising in the east, and have come to do him homage.”

When Herod the king heard these things he was greatly troubled. He called the chief priests and the scribes together and demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they told him in Bethlehem of Judea. Then Herod sent the wise men to Bethlehem, and said, “Go and search diligently for the young child; and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I too may go and do him homage.”

When they had heard the king, they departed; and lo, the star which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and did him homage.  Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

And behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, and take the child and his mother, flee into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you.  Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”  Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.

When Herod realized he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious.  He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.

When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Rise, take the young child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”

He rose, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.  But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go back there.  And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee.  He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth.

And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

 

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