The birth of Jesus
2 • 1 At that time the emperor issued a decree for a census of the whole empire to be taken. 2 This first census was taken while Quirinus was governor of Syria. 3 Everyone had to be registered in his own town.
So everyone set out for his own city; 4 Joseph too set out from Nazareth of Galilee. As he belonged to the family of David, being a descendant of his, he went to Judea to David’s town of Bethlehem 5 to be registered with Mary, his wife, who was with child.
6 They were in Bethlehem when the time came for her to have her child, 7 and she gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger, because there was no place for them in the living room.
The shepherds and the angels
• 8 There were shepherds camping in the countryside, taking turns to watch over their flocks by night. 9 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to them, with the Glory of the Lord shining around them.
As they were terrified, 10 the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid; I am here to give you good news, great joy for all the people. 11Today a Savior has been born to you in David’s town; he is the Messiah and the Lord. 12 Let this be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly the angel was surrounded by many more heavenly spirits, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest; peace on earth for God is blessing humankind.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go as far as Bethlehem and see what the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came hurriedly and found Mary and Joseph with the baby lying in the manger. 17 On seeing this they related what they had been told about the child, 18 and all were astonished on hearing the shepherds.
•19 As for Mary, she treasured all these messages and continually pondered over them.
20 The shepherds then returned giving glory and praise to God for all they had heard and seen, just as the angels had told them.
21 On the eighth day the circumcision of the baby had to be performed; he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
Jesus is presented in the Temple
• 22 When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they brought the baby up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, 23 as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God. 24 And they offered a sacrifice as ordered in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
25 There lived in Jerusalem at this time a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel, 26 and he had been assured by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord. 27 So he was led into the Temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law.
28 Simeon took the child in his arms and blessed God, saying,
29 “Now, O Lord, you can dismiss
your servant in peace,
for you have fulfilled your word
30 and my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you display for all the people to see.
32 Here is the light you will reveal to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 His father and mother wondered at what was said about the child. 34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “See him; he will be for the rise or fall of the multitudes of Israel. He shall stand as a sign of contradiction, 35 while a sword will pierce your own soul. Then the secret thoughts of many may be brought to light.”
36 There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father’s home, she had been seven years with her husband, and since then she had been continually about the Temple, serving God as a widow night and day in fasting and prayer. 37 She was now eighty-four. 38 Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God and spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
39 When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. 40 There the child grew in stature and strength and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon him.
I must be in my Father’s house
• 41 Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, as was customary. 42 And when Jesus was twelve years old, he went up with them according to the custom for this feast. 43 After the festival was over, they returned, but the boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem and his parents did not know it.
44 They thought he was in the company and after walking the whole day they looked for him among their relatives and friends. 45 As they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem searching for him, 46 and on the third day they found him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 And all the people were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48 His parents were very surprised when they saw him and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I were very worried while searching for you.” 49 Then he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Do you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand this answer.
51 Jesus went down with them, returning to Nazareth, and he continued to be subject to them. As for his mother, she kept all these things in her heart.
• 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and age, and in divine and human favor.
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