The Birth of Jesus
1At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4And 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. 5He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
6And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7She 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 lodging available for them.
The Shepherds and Angels
8That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
15When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Jesus Is Presented in the Temple
21Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.
22Then it was time for their 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. 23The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.”# Exod 13:2. 24So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”# Lev 12:8.
The Prophecy of Simeon
25At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27That 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, 28Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
29“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised.
30I have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared for all people.
32He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
33Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
The Prophecy of Anna
36Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four.# Or She had been a widow for eighty-four years. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
39When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.
Jesus Speaks with the Teachers
41Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. 42When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. 43After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, 44because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.
45When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. 46Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
49“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”# Or “Didn’t you realize that I should be involved with my Father’s affairs?” 50But they didn’t understand what he meant.
51Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.
52Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.
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35As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”