The Birth of Jesus Foretold
sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth,
a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to
a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said,
"Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!"
Confused and disturbed,
Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. Don't be frightened, Mary," the
angel told her, "for God has decided to bless you! You will become pregnant and
have a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called
the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor
David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!"
asked the angel, "But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin."
The angel replied,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow
you. So the baby born to you will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.
What's more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People
used to say she was barren, but she's already in her sixth month. For nothing
is impossible with God."
Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant, and I
am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true."
And then the angel left.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
A few days later
Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived.
She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary's greeting,
Elizabeth's child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, "You are blessed by God above all other
women, and your child is blessed. What an honor this is, that the mother of my
Lord should visit me! When you came in and greeted me, my baby jumped for joy
the instant I heard your voice! You are blessed, because you believed that the
Lord would do what he said."
The Magnificat: Mary's Song of Praise
"Oh, how I praise the Lord.
How I rejoice in
God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
And now generation
Will call me blessed.
For he, the Mighty One, is holy,
And he has done great things for me.
His mercy goes on from generation to
To all who fear him.
His mighty arm does tremendous things!
How he scatters the proud and haughty ones!
He has taken princes from their
And exalted the lowly.
He has satisfied the hungry with good things
And sent the rich away with empty hands.
And how he has helped his servant
He has not forgotten his promise to be merciful.
For he promised
our ancestors -- Abraham and his children --
To be merciful to them forever."
stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.
Birth of Jesus
At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that
a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census
taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own towns to
register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he
had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David's ancient home. He traveled there from
the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiance, who was
obviously pregnant by this time.
And while they were there, the time came
for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped
him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room
for them in the village inn.
The Shepherds and Angels
night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks
of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance
of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel
reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news of great joy
for everyone! The Savior -- yes, the Messiah, the Lord -- has been born tonight
in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: You will
find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!"
the angel was joined by a vast host of others -- the armies of heaven -- praising
"Glory to God in the highest heaven,
And peace on
earth to all whom God favors."
When the angels
had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Come on, let's go to
Bethlehem!" Let's see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has
told us about."
They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there
was the baby, lying in the manger. Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened
and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds'
story were astonished, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and
thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks,
glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they
had seen the child, just as the angel had said.
Jesus is Presented in
Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named
Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.
it was time for the purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after
the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the
Lord. The law of the Lord says, "If a woman's first child is a boy, he must be
dedicated to the Lord." So they offered a sacrifice according to what was required
in the law of the Lord -- "either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."
Prophecy of Simeon
Now there was a man named Simeon who lived in Jerusalem.
He was a righteous man and very devout. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, and
he eagerly expected the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit had
revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Messiah. That
day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present
the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the
child in his arms and praised God, saying,
"Lord, now I can
die in peace!
As you promised me,
I have seen the Savior
given to all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
he is the glory of your people Israel!"
Joseph and Mary were
amazed at what was being said about Jesus. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said
to Mary, "This child will be rejected by many in Israel, and it will be their
undoing. But he will be the greatest joy to many others. Thus, the deepest thoughts
of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul."
Prophecy of Anna
Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She
was the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, and was very old. She was
a widow, for her husband had died when they had been married only seven years.
She was now eight-four years old. She never left the Temple but stayed there day
and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon
was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about
Jesus to everyone who had been waiting for the promised King to come and deliver
When Jesus' parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the
law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. There the child grew
up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom beyond his years, and God placed
his special favor upon him.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.