This is how the birth of Jesus the Anointed came to be: His mother, Mary, was betrothed to Joseph, but before they were intimate, she discovered she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, was a righteous man and did not want to make a spectacle of Mery, so he resolved to dismiss her in private. After thinking about this, the Lord’s angel appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to receive your wife, Mary, for what is conceived in her is from the Spirit, the Holy one. She will give birth to a son, and you shall declare his name to be Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-21)

All of this occurred to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophets, “The virgin shall conceive in her womb and give birth to a son, and they shall call him Immanuel” [Isaiah 7:14] – which means “God with us.” When Joseph woke up, he did as the Lord’s angel had said and received Mary as his wife. But he was not intimate with her until after she gave birth to her son, whom he declared his name to be Jesus. (Matthew 1:22-25)

The Birth Of Jesus Of Nazareth

In those days, Ceaser Augustus issued a decree that anyone living in the Roman world should enroll in a census. This happened while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone had to go to their city to register. So Joseph went up from Galilee, out of Nazareth, to Judaea, to the city of David, called Bethlehem, since he was from David’s house and lineage. He took Mary with him since they were betrothed, who was still pregnant. While they were there, it came time for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7)

There were shepherds living in the countryside, keeping guard of their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel told them, “Do not fear; I bring you good news of great joy for all the people. Today, in David’s city, a savior was born to you, the Anointed Lord. This is a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly, a great company of the heavenly army appeared with the angel praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest place and peace on earth among men of goodwill.” (Luke 2:8-14)

When the angels had left from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this story that has happened which the Lord made known to us.” So, in a hurry, they found Joseph, Mary, and the baby lying in the manger. After seeing them, they revealed what they had been told concerning the child. Everyone who heard was amazed at the things the shepherds reported. However, Mary kept all these things in her heart and pondered them. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heart, just as they had been told. (Luke 2:15-20)

Naming & Dedication Of Jesus

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the boy, his name was declared to be Jesus, the name pronounced by the angel before his conception in the womb. (Luke 2:21)

When the days of their purification were completed, in keeping with the Law of Moses, they took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be declared holy to the Lord.”) [Exodus 13:2,12] and to offer sacrifices in keeping with what is stated in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” [Leviticus 5:11; 12:8] (Luke 2:22-24)

Now, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. He was righteous and devout, awaiting Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been made known to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing the Anointed of the Lord. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the Temple, and as the parents brought in the little child Jesus, so they could do for him what was customary according to the Las, he took the baby in his arms and blessed God and said: “Now you release your servant in peace, Master, in keeping with your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the face of all peoples, a light for revelation to the gentiles [Isaiah 42:6, 49:6] and for the glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:25-32)

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This one is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, and your soul a sword will also pierce so that the considerations of many hearts may be revealed.” And there was a prophetess, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher, named Anna. She was old and had only lived with her husband for seven years before she was widowed. After her husband passed, she served day and night with fasts and prayers in the Temple and did not leave for eighty-four years. She approached Joseph and Mary at the same hour, praising God and speaking about the child to those awaiting the liberation of Jerusalem. When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee and their town of Nazareth. (Luke 2:33-39)

Seeking To Meet Jesus

Remember, Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea when Herod was king. After some time, Magians (priests out of the Persians and Medes) arrived in Jerusalem from the East, saying, “Where is the newborn King of the Judaeans? For we saw his star at its rising and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this, he was disturbed, and so was all of Jerusalem. He assembled the chief priests and scribes and asked them where the Anointed was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judaea, for it has been written by the prophet: ‘You, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah. For from you will come forth a leader who will shepherd my people Israel’” [Malachi 5:2] (Matthew 2:1-6)

Then Herod, secretly summoning the Magians, found the exact time when the star appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and inquire precisely where the child is. When you find him, let me know so that I, too, can come and worship him.” So they obeyed the king and departed. The star, which they saw rising, preceded them until it came to the place where the child was and stood still above. When they saw the star, they rejoiced, entered the house, and saw the child with his mother, Mary. Falling down, they worshiped the boy, opened treasure casks they had, and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. However, having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. (Matthew 2:7-12)

When the Magians left, the Lord’s angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Awaken, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt. Remain there until you hear from me again. Herod intends to seek out the child to kill him.” Waking up, Joseph took the child and his mother in the night and departed into Egypt. They stayed in Egypt until the death of Herod, fulfilling what the Lord said through the prophets, “I have called my son out of Egypt.” [Hosea 11:1] (Matthew 2:13-15)

When Herod realized that the Magians had made him a fool, he was furious. He dispatched men to destroy all the male children in Bethlehem and surrounding areas, two years old and younger, according to the time he learned from the Magians. Again, the prophecy was fulfilled when Jeremiah said, “A voice was heard in Rama, weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted because they are no more.” [Jeremiah 31:15] (Matthew 2:16-18)

Jesus’ Hometown

When Herod had died, the Lord’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up and take the child and his mother and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the child’s soul have died.” Waking, he took the child and his mother and entered into the land of Israel. Hearing, however, that Archelaus now reigns over Judaea in place of his father, Herod, Joseph was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to a district of Galilee and went and lived in a town called Nazareth. (Matthew 2:19-23)

Jesus grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. Each year, his parents journeyed to Jerusalem at the Passover feast. When Jesus was twelve years old, as they were accustomed to doing, they went to Jerusalem for the feast. After finishing their three days there, and as they were on their way back, Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and his parents were unaware that he had done so. They assumed he was with the traveling party and went on their way for an entire day. They began to look for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they didn’t find him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days, they found him in the temple, sitting amid the teachers, listening to and questioning them. All those listening to Jesus were astonished at his intelligence and his responses. When his parents saw him, they were struck with wonder, and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us this way? Look! Your father and I are in horrible distress looking for you.” Jesus replied, “Why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be in the home of my Father?” (Luke 2:41-49)

Joseph and Mary did not understand what he was saying to them. Jesus left, went down to Nazareth with them, and obeyed them. But his mother treasured all these sayings in her heart. Jesus grew in wisdom, age, and favor before God and men. (Luke 2:50-52)

Discussion Questions

  • Joseph faced a difficult decision when he found out Mary was pregnant before they were married. How did Joseph’s actions show his character, and what can we learn from his willingness to trust and follow God’s guidance in difficult situations?
  • The birth of Jesus was announced by angels to both shepherds and wise men from the East. Why do you think God chose to reveal the birth of Jesus to such different groups of people, and what does this tell us about the inclusivity of God’s message?**
  • Mary and Joseph followed the customs and laws of their time when they dedicated Jesus at the Temple. Why is it important to follow spiritual or religious practices, and how do these actions help strengthen our faith and relationship with God?
  • The story of the Magi following a star to find Jesus is filled with symbolism. What do you think the star represents, and how can we seek and follow the “stars” or signs that lead us to Jesus in our own lives?
  • When Jesus was twelve, he stayed behind in the Temple to discuss with the teachers, surprising his parents and those around him. What does this incident reveal about Jesus’ understanding of his mission, and how can we cultivate a sense of purpose and dedication to our own spiritual growth?
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