The Story of Jesus

Shepherds Hear The News

Shepherds were watching their flocks that night near Bethlehem. Suddenly the angel of the Lord came near, and a great light shone through the darkness. The shepherds were afraid. Why had the angel come to them?

The angel said, "Fear not, for I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all 

people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And you shall find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."

What wonderful news! Many angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Then the angels returned to heaven, and the light faded into the still darkness of the night.

The shepherds said to each other, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing which the Lord has made known to us." Leaving their flocks, they hurried to Bethlehem. There in a stable they found Mary and Joseph and the infant Savior. Kneeling before the manger, they worshiped the little babe who lay quietly sleeping on the hay.

They told Mary and Joseph, "An angel of the Lord told us the news and an angelic choir sang praise to God." On the way back to their flocks they told everyone they met about the angel's visit and the Savior's birth.

When the baby was eight days old, Joseph and Mary named him Jesus, the name the angel had chosen. The name Jesus means salvation.

According to Jewish law each family had to make an offering to the Lord for their first baby boy. Rich people gave a lamb; poor people, two young pigeons. When Jesus was forty days old, Joseph and Mary took him to the temple at Jerusalem. They offered two young pigeons to the Lord, for they were poor.

Old Simeon was in the temple. God had promised him, "You shall not die until you have seen the Savior." When Mary brought Baby Jesus to the temple, God's Spirit made Simeon know that this child was the promised Savior.

Simeon came eagerly to meet Mary and took the baby in his arms. "Now may God let me depart in peace, for I have seen with my eyes the salvation which he has sent," Simeon said. Anna was an old woman who had served God faithfully all her life. When she saw Jesus, she too gave thanks to God. Mary never forgot what Simeon and Anna said about Jesus, nor did she forget the story the shepherds told. She thought about these strange things and wondered how her son Jesus would finally become the Savior of the world.

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