Five centuries came and went between the time of the last events chronicled in the
Old Testament and the birth of Jesus, with which the New Testament opens. They were turbulent years for the
children of Israel. Palestine changed hands many times until, finally, it became a part of the Roman Empire under
Augustus Caesar, with Herod as King of Judea.
There lived at that time, in the city of Nazareth in Galilee, a virgin named Mary. To her the angel of the Lord
appeared in a vision, saying: "Blessed art thou among women, for the Lord is with thee: thou shalt bring forth a
Son and shall call His name Jesus. He shall become King of Kings, and of His reign there shall be no end, for He is
the Son of God."
And Mary, who had feared at first, was filled with a great joy.
Some time later, the Emperor having ordered all of the people of his empire to go each to his own city to be taxed,
Joseph took his wife Mary to his native Bethlehem, nearly a hundred miles away.
When they came to the end of their long journey, they found the inn crowded. Since there was no room, they were
compelled to go out into the stable where the cattle were. And there, in a manger, Jesus was born.
Mary wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him gently in the