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About that time, Augustus the Roman ruler made a law. All the people in the world must have their names written down in a book.

This was the first time names were written in a book in this way. Quirinius was the ruler of Syria at that time.

Everyone went to his home town to have his name written in the book.

Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea. This was David's town, and Joseph came from David's family line.

He went to have his name written in the book. Joseph took Mary with him. She was promised to Joseph to be his wife. She was going to have a baby.

While they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.

This was her first child, a son. She wrapped him in a cloth and laid him in a box where cows feed. There was no room for them in the house for strangers.

In the same part of the country, men were taking care of sheep. They were in the field watching their sheep at night.

An angel of the Lord came to them and a bright light from the Lord shone all around them. They were very much afraid.

10 The angel said to them, `Fear not! Listen, I bring you good news! This news will make you very glad. It is for all people.

11 A saviour has been born for you today in David's town. He is Christ the Lord.

12 This is the way you will know him. You will find a baby wrapped in a cloth, lying in a box where cows feed.'

13 All at once a great number of angels from heaven were with the angel. They were praising God.

14 They said, `Praise God in the highest heaven! Peace on earth and loving mercy towards all people!'

15 The angels left them and went back to heaven. The men who were taking care of the sheep said to one another `Let us go to Bethlehem and see what has happened. It is the Lord who has told us about it.'

16 They went quickly. They found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the box where cows feed.

17 When they saw the child, they told what the angel had said to them about him.

18 All those who heard them were surprised at what the shepherds had told them.

19 Mary remembered all these things and kept thinking about them.

20 Then the men who were taking care of the sheep went back. They praised and thanked God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as they had been told it would be.

21 When the child was eight days old, it was time to circumcise him. They named him Jesus. That was the name the angel gave him before the baby began to grow inside Mary.

22 The time came when Mary was no longer unclean by the law of Moses. Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to bring him to the Lord.

23 This is what is written in the law of the Lord: `Every boy who is the first child of his mother will be holy for the Lord.'

24 They also came to make a sacrifice as an offering to God. The law of the Lord said, `A pair of doves or two young pigeons.'

25 A man named Simeon was in Jerusalem. He was a good man and he loved God. He was watching and waiting for the one who would save Israel. The Holy Spirit was on him.

26 The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

27 He came into the temple, led by the Spirit. The parents brought in the child Jesus to do what the law said they should do about him.

28 Then Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God.

29 He said, `Lord, now you are letting your servant go in peace, just as you said.

30 I have seen with my own eyes the one you have sent to save people.

31 You have made this way for all peoples to be saved.

32 He is a light which will shine for those who do not know God. He is the one who will bring praise to your people Israel.'

33 Joseph and Mary were surprised at the things Simeon said about Jesus.

34 Simeon blessed them. He said to Mary, the mother of Jesus, `He will be a sign that people do not believe in. He will make many people in Israel fall and rise.

35 (Yes, a long knife will cut your heart too.) What people think will be made known.'

36 Anna, a woman prophet of God, was there too. Her father's name was Phanuel. She was of the tribe of Asher. She was very old. She had been married and lived with her husband for seven years.

37 Then her husband died. Now she had been alone for eighty-four years. She did not leave the temple, but worshipped day and night. She talked with God and fasted [did not eat food for a time].

38 While Simeon was talking to Mary, Anna also came along and thanked God. She talked about Jesus to all the people who were waiting for the one who would set Jerusalem free.

39 The parents did everything that the law of the Lord said they should do. Then they went back to Galilee to their own town, Nazareth.

40 The child grew. He became strong and very wise. And God blessed him.

41 Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast [a special time to thank God].

42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they went to Jerusalem for the feast as they always did.

43 After the days of the feast were finished, they started home. But the boy Jesus stayed in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it.

44 They thought he was coming with the rest of the people. They travelled one day. Then they looked for him among their family and friends.

45 But they did not find him. So they went back to Jerusalem and looked for him.

46 On the third day they found him in the temple. He was sitting in front of the teachers of the law. He was listening to them and asking them questions.

47 All who heard him were surprised at what he knew and his answers.

48 His parents were surprised when they saw him. His mother said to him, `Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you. We have been very troubled.'

49 He said to them, `Why did you look for me? Did you not know that I had to be in my Father's house?'

50 They did not understand what he meant.

51 He went with them back to Nazareth and obeyed them. But his mother remembered all these things.

52 Jesus grew and became wiser and taller. He pleased God and also people.