The Nativity; The Shepherds and the Wise Men
That same night that Jesus was born, not too far away from Bethlehem, there were some shepherds in a field watching their sheep. Suddenly, a bright light appeared in the sky, and the shepherds looked up and saw an angel of the Lord looking down at them. The Shepherds were very afraid.
"Fear not," said the angel, " I bring you glad tidings of great joy. For born to all this night, in the City of David, is the Saviour, who is Christ the King. You will find the Child in Bethlehem, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger."
Then, with those words, the angel disappeared and the sounds of hundreds of angelic voices filled the sky, singing "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, Peace and Goodwill toward men."
The shepherds looked at each other in wonder. "Come" said one, "we must hurry to Bethlehem to see this child who is our Saviour."
The shepherds rushed off to Bethlehem and after searching many stables, they finally found the infant.
It was as the angel of the Lord had told them. He was lying in a manger, and wrapped in swaddling clothes. The Shepherds knelt at the side of baby Jesus and gave thanks to God.
A few days later, the king of Judea, whose name was Herod, heard the gossip about the baby who had been born. He was very angry, because people were saying he would be King, and Herod wanted the throne for himself. Three wise men from the east had come to the palace in Jerusalem, and Herod asked them where the baby who will be king of the Jews was.
"We have seen his star in the east, and have come to praise him." said one of the wise men.
"We think that the child is in Bethlehem," said another.
Herod pretended to be very excited and told the wise men that he would also like to visit the new baby. "Go to Bethlehem and find the child, then send me word so that I might also go and see the baby."
The wise men left Jerusalem that night, and riding on their camels, they followed the star from the east that seemed to be leading them to where the Christ Child was.
Suddenly, the star came to a stop over Bethlehem, and the wise men went to the spot under which it rested. There, they found Mary and Joseph with the Baby Jesus. The Wise Men praised God and presented the Baby with presents of gold, frankincence and myrrh.
That same night, the angel of the Lord appeared to the wise men in a dream, and warned them not to go back to see Herod. The next day, the three wise men returned to their homeland a different way than they had come.
Joseph was also visited by the angel that night, and the angel told him to take Mary and the Baby Jesus and go to Egypt. The angel said to Joseph "Stay there until I bring you word. Herod will try to find the child and destroy him."When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men he was very angry! He ordered his soldiers to go to Bethlehem and kill every male child under the age of two.
A few years later, the angel of the Lord came once more to Joseph. "It is safe to return to Bethlehem," he told Joseph. "King Herod is dead."
Joseph was still worried about the safety of Jesus and he was afraid to return to Bethlehem in Judea, so he took his wife and child to Galilee, to the town of Nazareth.
That is where Jesus grew up.
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