In the sixth month, God sent the angel
Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named
Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said,
"Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and
wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be
afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a
son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son
of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will
reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
"How will this be," Mary asked the
angel, "since I am a virgin?"
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit
will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to
be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a
child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing
is impossible with God."
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary
answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a
town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted
Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and
Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed
are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that
the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my
ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the
Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"
And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the
Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state
of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has
done great things for me--holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from
generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered
those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their
thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has
sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to
Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers."
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three
months and then returned home.
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a
decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census
that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town
So Joseph also went up from the town of
Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the
house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be
married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the
baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and
placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the
fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to
them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel
said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for
all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the
Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host
appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and
on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into
heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing
that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and
Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the
word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed
at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered
them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things
they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
On the eighth day, when it was time to
circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been
conceived. When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been
completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is
written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the
Lord"), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord:
"a pair of doves or two young pigeons."
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called
Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and
the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would
not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple
courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the
Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: "Sovereign Lord,
as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your
salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to
the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
The child's father and mother marveled at
what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This
child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that
will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword
will pierce your own soul too."
There was also a prophetess, Anna, the
daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her
husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to
them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were
looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
When Joseph and Mary had done everything
required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.
And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was