At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. ( This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) Everyone went to register in the cities where their ancestors had lived. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. Joseph went there to register with Mary. She had been promised to him in marriage and was pregnant. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there wasn’t any room for them in the inn. That night in the fields near Bethlehem there were some shepherds guarding their sheep. All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the Lord’s glory flashed brightly around them. The shepherds were frightened. The angel said to them:
“Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, King David’s hometown! You will know who he is, because you will find him wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great army of heaven’s angels appeared with the first angel, singing praises to God:
“Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God.”
Then the angels left the shepherds and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.” They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger! After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this baby. Everyone who heard the shepherds’ story was amazed, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and thanking him for everything they had seen and heard. It had been just as the angel had told them.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.