The Birth of Jesus
At that time, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census would be taken. Every person in the Roman world had to return to his or her hometown to register. Joseph, being of the line of King David, was required to go to Bethlehem to register with Mary.
The city of Bethlehem was a small village about five miles southwest of Jerusalem. While in Bethlehem, the baby Jesus was born. Because of the census, the inn was overcrowded, and Mary gave birth in a crude stable. She wrapped the baby snuggly in strips of cloth and placed him in a manger (an open box or trough used to feed cattle or other livestock).
Shepherds Worship the Savior
That night in a nearby field, an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds who were tending their flocks of sheep. The radiance of God’s glory surrounded the angel as it announced that the Savior of the world had been born in the town of David.
The men were terrified, but the angel reassured them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
Suddenly a great crowd of heavenly beings appeared with the angel and began singing praises to God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).
As the angelic beings departed, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see the Christ-child!”
They hurried to the village and found Mary, Joseph, and the baby. The shepherds shared with everyone what the angel had said about the newborn Messiah. Then they went on their way praising and glorifying God.
But Mary kept quiet, treasuring their words in her heart.
The Magi Bring Gifts
Jesus’ birth took place when Herod was king of Judea. At this time, wise men (Magi) from the east saw a great star. They followed it, knowing the star signified the birth of the king of the Jews.
The wise men came to the Jewish rulers in Jerusalem and asked where the Christ was to be born. The rulers explained, “In Bethlehem in Judea,” referring to Micah 5:2. Herod secretly met with the Magi and asked them to report back after they found the child. Herod told the Magi that he wanted to worship the babe. But secretly Herod was plotting to kill the child.
The wise men continued to follow the star in search of the newborn king. They found Jesus with his mother in Bethlehem.
The Magi bowed and worshiped him, offering treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.