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The Birth of Jesus (A)

In those days Caesar Augustus sent out word that the name of every person in the Roman nation must be written in the books of the nation. This first writing took place while Quirinius was ruler of Syria.

So all the people went to their own cities to have their names written in the books of the nation. Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in the country of Galilee to the town of Bethlehem. It was known as the city of David. He went there because he was from the family of David. Joseph went to have his and Mary’s names written in the books of the nation. Mary was his promised wife and soon to become a mother.

While they were there in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to give birth to her baby. Her first son was born. She put cloth around Him and laid Him in a place where cattle are fed. There was no room for them in the place where people stay for the night.

The Shepherds Learn of the Birth of Jesus

In the same country there were shepherds in the fields. They were watching their flocks of sheep at night. The angel of the Lord came to them. The shining-greatness of the Lord shone around them. They were very much afraid. 10 The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. See! I bring you good news of great joy which is for all people. 11 Today, One Who saves from the punishment of sin has been born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. 12 There will be something special for you to see. This is the way you will know Him. You will find the Baby with cloth around Him, lying in a place where cattle are fed.”

13 At once many angels from heaven were seen, along with the angel, giving thanks to God. They were saying, 14 “Greatness and honor to our God in the highest heaven and peace on earth among men who please Him.”

The Shepherds Go to Bethlehem

15 The angels went from the shepherds back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see what has happened. The Lord has told us about this.” 16 They went fast and found Mary and Joseph. They found the Baby lying in a place where cattle are fed. 17 When they saw the Child, they told what the angel said about Him. 18 All who heard it were surprised at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary hid all these words in her heart. She thought about them much. 20 The shepherds went back full of joy. They thanked God for all they had heard and seen. It happened as the angel had told them.

Jesus Taken to the House of God

21 When eight days were over, they did the religious act of becoming a Jew on the Child. He was named Jesus. This name was given to Him by the angel when Mary was told He was to be born. 22 When the days were over for her to be made pure as it was written in the Law of Moses, they took Jesus to Jerusalem to give Him to the Lord. 23 It is written in the Law of the Lord, “The first-born male born of a woman will be called holy to the Lord.” 24 They were to give a gift of two turtle-doves or two young birds on the altar in worship to the Lord. This was written in the Law of the Lord.

Simeon’s Song of Thanks

25 There was a man in Jerusalem by the name of Simeon. He was a good man and very religious. He was looking for the time when the Jewish nation would be saved. The Holy Spirit was on him. 26 The Holy Spirit made it known to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen God’s Chosen One. 27 He came to the house of God being led by the Holy Spirit. The parents took Jesus to the house of God. They came to do what the Law said must be done. 28 Then Simeon took Jesus in his arms. He gave honor to Him and thanked God, saying,

29 “Lord, now let me die in peace, as You have said. 30 My eyes have seen the One Who will save men from the punishment of their sins. 31 You have made Him ready in the sight of all nations. 32 He will be a light to shine on the people who are not Jews. He will be the shining-greatness of Your people the Jews.” 33 Joseph and the mother of Jesus were surprised and wondered about these words which were said about Jesus. 34 Simeon honored them and said to Mary the mother of Jesus, “See! This Child will make many people fall and many people rise in the Jewish nation. He will be spoken against. 35 A sword will cut through your soul. By this the thoughts of many hearts will be understood.”

Anna Gives Thanks for Jesus

36 Anna was a woman who spoke God’s Word. She was the daughter of Phanuel of the family group of Asher. Anna was many years old. She had lived with her husband seven years after she was married. 37 Her husband had died and she had lived without a husband eighty-four years. Yet she did not go away from the house of God. She served God day and night, praying and going without food so she could pray better. 38 At that time she came and gave thanks to God. She told the people in Jerusalem about Jesus. They were looking for the One to save them from the punishment of their sins and to set them free.

They Return to Nazareth (B)

39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything the Law said to do, they went back to Nazareth in Galilee. 40 The Child grew and became strong in spirit. He was filled with wisdom and the loving-favor of God was on Him.

41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year for the special religious gathering to remember how the Jews left Egypt. 42 When He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem as they had done before. 43 When the days of the special supper were over, they started back to their town. But the boy Jesus was still in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it. 44 They thought Jesus was with the others of the group. They walked for one day. Then they looked for Him among their family and friends.

45 When they could not find Jesus, they turned back to Jerusalem to look for Him. 46 Three days later they found Him in the house of God. He was sitting among the teachers. He was hearing what they said and asking questions. 47 All those who heard Him were surprised and wondered about His understanding and at what He said. 48 When His parents saw Him, they were surprised. His mother said to Him, “My Son, why have You done this to us? See! Your father and I have had much sorrow looking for You.” 49 He said to them, “Why were you looking for Me? Do you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” 50 They did not understand the things He said to them.

51 He went with them to Nazareth and obeyed them. But His mother kept all these words in her heart. 52 Jesus grew strong in mind and body. He grew in favor with God and men.

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