Mary, a virgin, living in Galilee of Nazareth was engaged to Joseph, a Jewish carpenter. One day God sent an angel, Gabriel to inform her that she would conceive a son by the power of the Holy Spirit. She would carry and give birth to this child, and she would name him Jesus.
At first Mary was afraid and troubled. Being a virgin, Mary questioned the angel, “How will this be?” The angel explained that the child would be God’s Son and, therefore, “nothing is impossible with God.” Humbled and in awe, Mary believed the angel of the Lord and rejoiced in God her Savior.
While Mary was still engaged to Joseph, she miraculously became pregnant through the Holy Spirit. When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, he felt betrayed and disgraced. He knew the child was not his own. Under Jewish law, Mary could be put to death by stoning.
Although Joseph’s initial reaction was to break the engagement, he treated Mary with extreme kindness. He did not want to cause her further shame, so he decided to act quietly. But God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to verify Mary’s story and reassure him that his marriage to her was God’s will. The angel explained that the Holy Spirit conceived the baby within Mary and that his name would be Jesus the Messiah. When Joseph woke from his dream, he obeyed God and took Mary home to be his wife.
In Mary’s third trimester, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census must be taken, of every person living in the Roman world. Joseph, a descendant of David, was required to go to Bethlehem to register with Mary. While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus in a stable. There was no room in the inn. She wrapped the baby in cloths and placed him in a manger.
Out in the fields, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds who were tending their sheep by night. The angel announced that the Savior’s birth in the town of David. Suddenly a great host of heavenly beings appeared with the angels and began singing praises to God. As the angelic beings departed, the shepherds decided to travel to Bethlehem and see the Christ-child.
There they found Mary, Joseph, and the baby, in the stable. After their visit, they began to spread the word about this amazing child and everything the angel had said about him. They went on their way still praising and glorifying God. But Mary kept quiet, treasuring their words and pondering them in her heart.
After Jesus’ birth, Herod was king of Judea. At this time wise men (Magi) from the east saw a star, they knew the star signified the birth of Christ. So they followed the star to Jerusalem where they asked the Jewish rulers where the Christ born. The rulers explained, “In Bethlehem in Judea,” referring to Micah 5:2.
Herod secretly met with the Magi and asked them to report back after they had found the child. Herod told the Magi that he too wanted to go and worship the babe. But secretly Herod was plotting to kill the child.
So the wise men continued to follow the star in search of the new born king and found Jesus with his mother in Bethlehem. They bowed and worshiped him, offering treasures of gold, incense, and myrrh. When they left, they did not return to Herod. The Holy Spirit warned them of his plot to destroy the child.