1 In those days Caesar
Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of
the entire Roman world.
2 (This was the first
census that took place while Quirinius was governor of
3 And everyone went to his
own town to register.
4 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.
5 He went there to
register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him
and was expecting a child.
6 While they were there,
the time came for the baby to be born,
7 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.
8 And there were shepherds
living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their
flocks at night.
9 An angel of the Lord
appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around
them, and they were terrified.
10 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.
11 Today in the town of
David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the
12 This will be a sign to
you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in
13 Suddenly a great
company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel,
praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in
the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor
15 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."
16 So they hurried off and
found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the
17 When they had seen him,
they spread the word concerning what had been told them
about this child,
18 and all who heard it
were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19 But Mary treasured up
all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God for all the things they had
heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
The Gospel of Matthew
1 After Jesus was born in
Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi
from the east came to Jerusalem
2 and asked, "Where
is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his
star in the east and have come to worship him."
3 When King Herod heard
this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 When he had called
together all the people's chief priests and teachers of
the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.
5 "In Bethlehem in
Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet
6 "`But you,
Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among
the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who
will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
7 Then Herod called the
Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the
star had appeared.
8 He sent them to
Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search
for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so
that I too may go and worship him."
9 After they had heard the
king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen
in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the
place where the child was.
10 When they saw the star,
they were overjoyed.
11 On coming to the house,
they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed
down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and
presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of
12 And having been warned
in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to
their country by another route.
13 When they had gone, an
angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.
"Get up," he said, "take the child and his
mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for
Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."
14 So he got up, took the
child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,
15 where he stayed until
the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord
had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called
16 When Herod realized
that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious,
and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and
its vicinity who were two years old and under, in
accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.
17 Then what was said
through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 "A voice is heard
in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for
her children and refusing to be comforted, because they
are no more."
19 After Herod died, an
angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt
20 and said, "Get up,
take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel,
for those who were trying to take the child's life are
21 So he got up, took the
child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.
I believe that the birth of Christ was God's act of love for
all of us and I am grateful for this gift. I believe that Easter is the most
important Christian event because it shows God's greatest act of love, mercy and
forgiveness. His love, mercy and forgiveness gives us a place in his
kingdom, if we believe. I hope you do.