The Birth of Jesus
1At that time, Augustus Caesar sent an order to all people in the countries that were under Roman rule. The order said that they must list their names in a register. 2This was the first registration# Census. A counting of all the people and the things they own. taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3And everyone went to their own towns to be registered.
4So Joseph left Nazareth, a town in Galilee. He went to the town of Bethlehem in Judea. This town was known as the town of David. Joseph went there because he was from the family of David. 5Joseph registered with Mary because she was engaged to marry him. (Mary was now pregnant.) 6While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. 7She gave birth to her first son. There were no rooms left in the inn. So she wrapped the baby with cloths and laid him in a box where animals are fed.
Some Shepherds Hear About Jesus
8That night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep. 9An angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and suddenly they became very frightened. 10The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, because I am bringing you some good news. It will be a joy to all the people. 11Today your Savior was born in David’s town. He is Christ, the Lord. 12This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a feeding box.”
13Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel. All the angels were praising God, saying:
14“Give glory to God in heaven,
and on earth let there be peace to the people who please God.”# Some Greek copies read “and on earth let there be peace and goodwill among people.”
15Then the angels left the shepherds and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened. We will see this thing the Lord told us about.”
16So the shepherds went quickly and found Mary and Joseph. 17And the shepherds saw the baby lying in a feeding box. Then they told what the angels had said about this child. 18Everyone was amazed when they heard what the shepherds said to them. 19Mary hid these things in her heart; she continued to think about them. 20Then the shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking him for everything that they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them.
21When the baby was eight days old, he was circumcised, and he was named Jesus. This name had been given by the angel before the baby began to grow inside Mary.
Jesus Is Presented in the Temple
22The time came for Mary and Joseph to do what the law of Moses taught about being made pure.# The law of Moses said that 40 days after a Jewish woman gave birth to a baby, she must be cleansed by a ceremony at the Temple. Read Leviticus 12:2–8. They took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 23It is written in the law of the Lord: “Give every firstborn male to the Lord.”# Quotation from Exodus 13:2. 24Mary and Joseph also went to offer a sacrifice, as the law of the Lord says: “You must sacrifice two doves or two young pigeons.”# Quotation from Leviticus 12:8.
Simeon Sees Jesus
25A man named Simeon lived in Jerusalem. He was a good man and very religious. He was waiting for the time when God would help Israel. The Holy Spirit was in him. 26The Holy Spirit told Simeon that he would not die before he saw the Christ promised by the Lord. 27The Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the Temple to do what the law said they must do. 28Then Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God:
29“Now, Lord, you can let me, your servant,
die in peace as you said.
30I have seen your Salvation# Simeon was talking about Jesus. The name Jesus means “salvation.” with my own eyes.
31You prepared him before all people.
32He is a light for the non-Jewish people to see.
He will bring honor to your people, the Israelites.”
33Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what Simeon had said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, “Many in Israel will fall and many will rise because of this child. He will be a sign from God that many people will not accept. 35The things they think in secret will be made known. And the things that will happen will make your heart sad, too.”
Anna Sees Jesus
36Anna, a prophetess, was there at the Temple. She was from the family of Phanuel in the tribe of Asher. Anna was very old. She had once been married for seven years. 37Then her husband died and she lived alone. She was now 84 years old. Anna never left the Temple. She worshiped God by going without food and praying day and night. 38She was standing there at that time, thanking God. She talked about Jesus to all who were waiting for God to free Jerusalem.
Joseph and Mary Return Home
39Joseph and Mary finished doing everything that the law of the Lord commanded. Then they went home to Nazareth, their own town in Galilee. 40The little child began to grow up. He became stronger and wiser, and God’s blessings were with him.
Jesus As a Boy
41Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. 42When Jesus was 12 years old, they went to the feast as they always did. 43When the feast days were over, they went home. The boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44Joseph and Mary traveled for a whole day. They thought that Jesus was with them in the group. Then they began to look for him among their family and friends, 45but they did not find him. So they went back to Jerusalem to look for him there. 46After three days they found him. Jesus was sitting in the Temple with the religious teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and wise answers. 48When Jesus’ parents saw him, they were amazed. His mother said to him, “Son, why did you do this to us? Your father and I were very worried about you. We have been looking for you.”
49Jesus asked, “Why did you have to look for me? You should have known that I must be where my Father’s work is!” 50But they did not understand the meaning of what he said.
51Jesus went with them to Nazareth and obeyed them. His mother was still thinking about all that had happened. 52Jesus continued to learn more and more and to grow physically. People liked him, and he pleased God.