A boy is born

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ occurred: his mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before she and Joseph had come together, it was discovered that she was pregnant. Joseph, however, was a good man and didn’t want Mary to be exposed to public shame, so he decided to end their engagement quietly.

But after he’d come to this conclusion, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.

“Joseph, son of David,” said the angel, “don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the baby within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a boy, and you are to call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All of this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through his prophet: “Look! A virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel!” (Which means ‘God with us.’)

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded and took Mary as his wife, but he didn’t consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. Then Joseph named him Jesus.

After Jesus’s birth had taken place at Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem, and he called together the chiefs priests and teachers of the law, asking them where the Christ would be born.

“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the rulers of Judah, for out of you shall come a Governor who will rule my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men and found out from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, come back and tell me so that I may go and worship him, too!”

After this interview, the wise men went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

When they left the house, they returned to their own country by another route, having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod.

After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up!” said the angel. “Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt! Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

So he got up and, that same night, took the child and Mary and set off for Egypt. And there they stayed there until Herod’s death. Thus was fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “Out of Egypt have I called my Son.”

When he realized that the wise men had outwitted him, Herod was furious and gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. And so was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A cry is heard in Ramah – of weeping and great mourning. Rachel is weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more”

Matthew

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