It was the time when Caesar Augustus issued a decree that there should be a census of everyone in the Roman Empire. This was the first census under governor Quirinius of Syria. So everybody went to their own city to be registered. Joseph was descended from King David, so he left Nazareth in Galilee to go to Bethlehem, the city of David, in Judea. He went to register there, together with Mary, who was pledged in marriage to him and expecting a baby. While they were there, the time came for her to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him up in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because the inn had no rooms left.
Nearby some shepherds were spending the night out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone all around them. They were scared out of their wits!
10 “Don't be afraid!” the angel told them. “I'm here to bring you good news that will make the all the people really glad. 11 The Savior has been born to you today, here in David's city. He is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 You will recognize him by this sign: you will find the child wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly many heavenly beings appeared, praising God, saying,
14 Glory to the God of heaven, and on earth peace to those with whom he is pleased!”
15 After the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let's go to Bethlehem and see what's happened concerning these things the Lord has told us about.”
16 They hurried there and found Mary, Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 After they'd seen for themselves, they spread the news of what had happened and what they had been told about this baby. 18 All those who heard about it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary was careful to remember all the things that had happened and often thought about them. 20 The shepherds went back to watching their flocks, glorifying and thanking God for all that they'd heard and seen, for it was just as they'd been told.
21 After eight days, the time came for the baby to be circumcised, and he was named Jesus. This was the name given to him by the angel before he had even been conceived. 22 When the time of their purification according to the law of Moses was finished, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, 23 as the law of the Lord states, “Every firstborn son must be dedicated to the Lord.”* 24 There they made a sacrifice, as God's law also states, ofa pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons.”
25 Living in Jerusalem at that time was a man called Simeon. Simeon did what was good and was very devout. He was waiting expectantly for the hope of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would not die before he saw the Lord's Messiah. 27 Following the Spirit's leading, he went to the Temple. When Jesus' parents brought in the little boy to be dedicated as required by the Law, 28 Simeon took Jesus in his arms, thanked God, and said,
29 Lord and Master, now you can let your servant die in peace as you promised, 30 because I have seen for myself your salvation 31 which you have prepared for everyone. 32 He is a light that will show you to the nations, the glory of your people Israel.” 33 Jesus' father and mother were shocked at what Simeon said about him.
34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Jesus' mother Mary, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall and many to rise. He is a sign from God that many will reject, 35 revealing what they really think. For you it will feel like a sword piercing right though you.”
36 Anna the prophetess also lived in Jerusalem. She was the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. She had been married for seven years, 37 and then she had been widowed. She was eighty-four years old. She spent her time at the Temple in worship, fasting and praying. 38 She came up to them right at that moment, and began praising God. She spoke about Jesus to all those who were looking forward to the time when God would set Jerusalem free.
39 Once they had completed everything God's law required, they returned to their home town of Nazareth in Galilee. 40 The child grew strong, and was very wise. God's blessing was with him.
41 Jesus' parents traveled to Jerusalem every year for the Passover festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they went to the festival as they always did. 43 When the festival had finished and it was time to return home, the boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, but his parents didn't realize this. 44 They assumed he was with all the others traveling home. A day passed before they started looking for him among their friends and relatives. 45 When they couldn't find him they returned to Jerusalem to look for him there. 46 It was three days before they found him in the Temple. He was sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 All who heard him speak were surprised by his understanding and his answers.
48 His parents were totally confused when they saw what he was doing. His mother asked him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and Iwe've been worried sick! We've been looking everywhere for you!”
49 Why is it that you were looking for me?” Jesus replied. “Didn't you know I should be here in my Father's house?” 50 But they didn't understand what he meant. 51 Then he went back with them to Nazareth, and did what he was told. His mother kept a careful note of everything that happened. 52 Jesus grew steadily wiser and stronger, favored both by God and by the people.
* 2:23 Quoting Exodus 13:2. 2:24 Quoting Leviticus 12:8. 2:26 Or “Christ.”