Luke Ch. 3; Matthew Ch. 1 and 2.
Now, this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, an upright man unwilling to expose her to the law, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention, when suddenly the angel of the lord appeared in a dream and said to him: “Joseph, son of David, have no fear about taking Mary as your wife. It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this child. She is to have a son, and you are to name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this happened to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin shall be with child and give birth to a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel,” a name which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had directed him and received her into his home as his wife.
In those days, Caesar Augustus published a decree ordering a census of the whole world. This first census took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone went to register each to his own town. And so, Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to David’s town of Bethlehem – because he was of the house and lineage of David – to register with Mary, his espoused wife, who was with child.
While they were there, the days of her confinement were completed. She gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the place where travelers lodged.
There were shepherds in that region, living in the fields and keeping night watch by turns over their flocks. The angel of the Lord appeared to them as the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were very much afraid. The angel said to them: “You have nothing to fear! I come to proclaim good news to you – tidings of great joy to be shared by the whole people. This day, in David’s city, a savior has been born to you, the Messiah and Lord. Let this be a sign to you: in a manger you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes.”
Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in high heaven, peace on earth to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another: “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this event which the Lord has made known to us.” They went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the bay lying in the manger; once they saw, they understood what had been told them concerning this child. All who heard of it were astonished at the report given them by the shepherds.
After Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem of Judea, during the reign of King Herod, astrologers from the east arrived one day in Jerusalem inquiring, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We observed his star at its rising and have come to pay him homage.” At this news, King Herod became greatly disturbed, and with him all Jerusalem. Summoning all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they informed him. “And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the princes of Judah, since from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Herod called the astrologers aside and found out from them the exact time of the star’s appearance. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, after having instructed them: “Go and get detailed information about the child. When you have found him, report it to me so that I may go and offer him homage too.”
After their audience with the king, they set out. The star which they had observed at its rising went ahead of them, until it came to a standstill over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house, found the child with Mary, his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their coffers and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
They received a message in a dream not to return to Herod, so they went back to their own country by another route.
Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, in accord with what had been told them.