The Story of the Nativity
The following is printed on the back of many of our popular religious Christmas cards.
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, and the virgin’s name was Mary. Coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you. Behold, you will conceive and bear a son, and name him Jesus. He will be called Son of the Most High, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. So all went to be enrolled. And Joseph too went to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house of David, to be enrolled with Mary, who was with child. While they were there, she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were shepherds keeping the night watch. The angel of the Lord appeared and said, “I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” The shepherds said to one another, “Let us go to see this thing that has taken place.” So they went and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them. All who heard it were amazed. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
When Jesus was born, magi from the east arrived, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Jesus grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.