The Birth of Jesus Christ
1 It was about that same time that Augustus Caesar sent out an order to all people in the countries that were under Roman rule. The order said that everyone’s name must be put on a list. 2 This was the first counting of all the people while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 Everyone traveled to their own hometowns to have their name put on the list.
4 So Joseph left Nazareth, a town in Galilee, and went to the town of Bethlehem in Judea. It was known as the town of David. Joseph went there because he was from the family of David. 5 Joseph registered with Mary because she was engaged to marry him. (She was now pregnant.) 6 While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. 7 She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped him up well and laid him in a box where cattle are fed. She put him there because the guest room was full.
Some Shepherds Hear About Jesus
8 That night, some shepherds were out in the fields near Bethlehem watching their sheep. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord was shining around them. The shepherds were very afraid. 10 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid. I have some very good news for you—news that will make everyone happy. 11 Today your Savior was born in David’s town. He is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.”
13 Then a huge army of angels from heaven joined the first angel, and they were all praising God, saying,
14 “Praise God in heaven,
and on earth let there be peace to the people who please him.”
15 The angels left the shepherds and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this great event the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they went running and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the feeding box. 17 When they saw the baby, they told what the angels said about this child. 18 Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. 19 Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. 20 The shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking him for everything they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them.
21 When the baby was eight days old, he was circumcised, and he was named Jesus. This name was given by the angel before the baby began to grow inside Mary.
Jesus Is Presented in the Temple
22 The time came for Mary and Joseph to do the things the Law of Moses taught about being made pure.* pure The Law of Moses said that 40 days after a Jewish woman gave birth to a baby, she must be made ritually clean by a ceremony at the Temple. See Leviticus 12:2-8. They brought Jesus to Jerusalem so that they could present him to the Lord. 23 It is written in the law of the Lord: “When a mother’s first baby is a boy, he shall be called ‘special for the Lord.’ ”† “When … ‘special for the Lord’ ” See Exodus 13:2, 12. 24 The law of the Lord also says that people must give a sacrifice: “You must sacrifice two doves or two young pigeons.”✡ Quote from Leviticus 12:8. So Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem to do this.
Simeon Sees Jesus
25 A man named Simeon lived in Jerusalem. He was a good man who was devoted to God. He was waiting for the time when God would come to help Israel. The Holy Spirit was with him. 26 The Holy Spirit told him that he would not die before he saw the Messiah from the Lord. 27 The Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. So he was there when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to do what the Jewish law said they must do. 28 Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God:
29 “Now, Lord, you can let me, your servant, die in peace as you said.
30 I have seen with my own eyes how you will save your people.
31 Now all people can see your plan.
32 He is a light to show your way to the other nations.
And he will bring honor to your people Israel.”
33 Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what Simeon said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, “Many Jews will fall and many will rise because of this boy. He will be a sign from God that some will not accept. 35 So the secret thoughts of many will be made known. And the things that happen will be painful for you—like a sword cutting through your heart.”
Anna Sees Jesus
36 Anna, a prophetess, was there at the Temple. She was from the family of Phanuel in the tribe of Asher. She was now very old. She had lived with her husband seven years 37 before he died and left her alone. She was now 84 years old. Anna was always at the Temple; she never left. She worshiped God by fasting and praying day and night.
38 Anna was there when Joseph and Mary came to the Temple. She praised God and talked about Jesus to all those who were waiting for God to free Jerusalem.
Joseph and Mary Return Home
39 Joseph and Mary finished doing all the things that the law of the Lord commanded. Then they went home to Nazareth, their own town in Galilee. 40 The little boy Jesus was developing into a mature young man, full of wisdom. God was blessing him.
Jesus as a Boy
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they went to the festival as usual. 43 When the festival was over, they went home, but Jesus stayed in Jerusalem. His parents did not know about it. 44 They traveled for a whole day thinking that Jesus was with them in the group. They began looking for him among their family and close friends, 45 but they did not find him. So they went back to Jerusalem to look for him there.
46 After three days they found him. Jesus was sitting in the Temple area with the religious teachers, listening and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and wise answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they wondered how this was possible. And his mother said, “Son, why did you do this to us? Your father and I were very worried about you. We have been looking for you.”
49 Jesus said to them, “Why did you have to look for me? You should have known that I must be where my Father’s work is.‡ where … work is Or “in my Father’s house.”” 50 But they did not understand the meaning of what he said to them.
51 Jesus went with them to Nazareth and obeyed them. His mother was still thinking about all these things. 52 As Jesus grew taller, he continued to grow in wisdom. God was pleased with him and so were the people who knew him.
‡2:49 where … work is Or “in my Father’s house.”