A long time ago, in the town of Nazareth, lived a young woman named Mary. Mary did her chores, was kind to others, and loved God very much. She was engaged to be married to Joseph, who was a carpenter.
One day, while Mary was at home cleaning her room, an angel suddenly appeared. Before Mary could say anything the angel told Mary that she was favored by God, and that God was with her.
Mary was surprised. She was trying not to be afraid, but she had never seen an angel before. After all, Mary was just a regular lady like you or I. Why was this angel visiting her? What did the angel want?
The angel quickly tried to reassure Mary, “Do not be afraid!” the angel said. “God has found favor with you. You will have a baby boy, and are to give him the name Jesus.”
Mary was confused, she was not yet married to Joseph, so how could she have a baby? The angel thought that this might concern Mary so he said, “The Holy Spirit will perform a miracle, and because of this your baby will be called the Son of God.”
To Mary’s surprise the angel had more exciting news; “Even your cousin Elizabeth is going to have a son in her old age. Many thought that she couldn’t have children, but she is already pregnant. Nothing is impossible with God.”
Mary couldn’t believe what she was hearing, she didn’t know what to say. She realized that she was trembling, and knelt down. When she was finally able to speak she said, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I hope everything you have said will come true.”
The angel then disappeared, and Mary was left alone.
Soon after, Joseph found out that Mary was going to have a baby. Joseph was confused and upset by this. But an angel came to him in a dream and said, “Joseph do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. The child Mary is going to have is God’s son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.”
When Joseph woke up he remembered what the angel had said. He knew that everything was okay, and he wasn’t upset anymore.
In those days the government decided that they should count everyone that lived in that area of the world. So Joseph had to take Mary to his town, Bethlehem to register.
It took Mary and Joseph a long time to get to Bethlehem. They didn’t have cars back then, so it probably took them a lot longer to get there. This was very tiring for Mary because she was soon going to have a baby.
When they reached the town, all the hotels were full and there was nowhere that they could stay. Finally, someone felt bad for them, and offered them a place to stay.
The Bible doesn’t say for sure where they stayed but most people think that they stayed in a small barn where animals were kept. In any case, doesn’t it seem strange that Jesus, the King of the Jews wasn’t born in a fancy palace or even a hospital?
Mary and Joseph were thankful that they at least had a place to lay down. It was warm, and there was plenty of straw to lay on.
That night an exciting, wonderful thing happened. Mary and Joseph had a baby! But it wasn’t just any baby, it was Baby Jesus! The creator of the whole world, the King of Kings, the one who would save the world.
The little baby boy fell asleep in Mary’s arms and she wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger on some clean straw.
Mary and Joseph soon fell asleep, they were so glad to have this special baby join their family.
|Gerard van Honthorst 1622|