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The Nativity of Christ


After the Annunciation, Mary continued living in Joseph's house, and "she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. And Joseph, her husband, being a just man and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS, for He shall save his people from their sins.' Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 'Behold, a Virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel,' (Isaiah 7: 14) which being interpreted is: 'God with us'" (Matt 1: 18-23).

The story of the birth of our Savior according to St. Luke begins thus: "It came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, who was great with child" (Luke 2:1-15).

And though the Christ child was born in a manger in humble circumstance, the joyful tidings of His birth became known to the poor shepherds in a nearby field and to eastern wise men in far off lands. To the shepherds the angel said: "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord . . . And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men'" (Luke 2: 10-11;13-14). Following a star, wise men from the East came to worship the newborn King of the Jews. They saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matt 2: 1-11).

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