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The Birth of Jesus

About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books.[a] These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.[b]

Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed. So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David’s hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David’s family.

Mary was engaged to Joseph and traveled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, and while they were there, she gave birth to her first-born[c] son. She dressed him in baby clothes[d] and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds

That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord’s glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. 10 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. 11 This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. 12 You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.”

13 Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said:

14 “Praise God in heaven!
Peace on earth to everyone
    who pleases God.”

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Footnotes

  1. 2.1 names. . . listed in record books: This was done so that everyone could be made to pay taxes to the Emperor.
  2. 2.2 Quirinius was governor of Syria: It is known that Quirinius made a record of the people in A.D. 6 or 7. But the exact date of the record taking that Luke mentions is not known.
  3. 2.7 first-born: The Jewish people said that the first-born son in each of their families belonged to the Lord.
  4. 2.7 dressed him in baby clothes: The Greek text has “wrapped him in wide strips of cloth,” which was how young babies were dressed.

15 After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay.

17 When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. 18 Everyone listened and was surprised. 19 But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant.

20 As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said.

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