In those days, Caesar Augustus made a law. It required that a list be made of everyone in the whole Roman world.
It was the first time a list was made of the people while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
All went to their own towns to be listed.
So Joseph went also. He went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea. That is where Bethlehem, the town of David, was. Joseph went there because he belonged to the family line of David.
He went there with Mary to be listed. Mary was engaged to him. She was expecting a baby.
While Joseph and Mary were there, the time came for the child to be born.
She gave birth to her first baby. It was a boy. She wrapped him in large strips of cloth. Then she placed him in a manger. There was no room for them in the inn.
There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby. It was night, and they were looking after their sheep.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them. And the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terrified.
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. It is for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.
Here is how you will know I am telling you the truth. You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a large group of angels from heaven also appeared. They were praising God. They said,
"May glory be given to God in the highest heaven! And may peace be given to those he is pleased with on earth!"
The angels left and went into heaven. Then the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem. Let's see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby. The baby was lying in the manger.
After the shepherds had seen him, they told everyone. They reported what the angel had said about this child.
All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
But Mary kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. She thought about them over and over.
The shepherds returned. They gave glory and praise to God. Everything they had seen and heard was just as they had been told.
When the child was eight days old, he was circumcised. At the same time he was named Jesus. This was the name the angel had given him before his mother became pregnant.
The time for making them pure came as it is written in the Law of Moses. So Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem. There they presented him to the Lord.
In the Law of the Lord it says, "The first boy born in every family must be set apart for the Lord."#1(Exodus 13:2,12)#2
They also offered a sacrifice. They did it in keeping with the Law, which says, "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."#1(Leviticus 12:8)#2
In Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was a good and godly man. He was waiting for God's promise to Israel to happen. The Holy Spirit was with him.
The Spirit had told Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
The Spirit led him into the temple courtyard. Then Jesus' parents brought the child in. They came to do for him what the Law required.
Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said,
"Lord, you are the King over all. Now let me, your servant, go in peace. That is what you promised.
My eyes have seen your salvation.
You have prepared it in the sight of all people.
It is a light to be given to those who aren't Jews. It will bring glory to your people Israel."
The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him.
Then Simeon blessed them. He said to Mary, Jesus' mother, "This child is going to cause many people in Israel to fall and to rise. God has sent him. But many will speak against him.
The thoughts of many hearts will be known. A sword will wound your own soul too."
There was also a prophet named Anna. She was the daughter of Penuel from the tribe of Asher. Anna was very old. After getting married, she lived with her husband seven years.
Then she was a widow until she was 84. She never left the temple. She worshiped night and day, praying and going without eating.
Anna came up to Jesus' family at that very moment. She gave thanks to God. And she spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the time when Jerusalem would be set free.
Joseph and Mary did everything the Law of the Lord required. Then they returned to Galilee. They went to their own town of Nazareth.
And the child grew and became strong. He was very wise. He was blessed by God's grace.
Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast.
When he was 12 years old, they went up to the Feast as usual.
After the Feast was over, his parents left to go back home. The boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But they were not aware of it.
They thought he was somewhere in their group. So they traveled on for a day. Then they began to look for him among their relatives and friends.
They did not find him. So they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple courtyard. He was sitting with the teachers. He was listening to them and asking them questions.
Everyone who heard him was amazed at how much he understood. They also were amazed at his answers.
When his parents saw him, they were amazed. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been worried about you. We have been looking for you everywhere."
"Why were you looking for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"
But they did not understand what he meant by that.
Then he went back to Nazareth with them, and he obeyed them. But his mother kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart.
Jesus became wiser and stronger. He also became more and more pleasing to God and to people.