All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they -- which means,
will call him Immanuel
God with us.
- Matthew 1:22 - 23
The music playing is
Mary Did You Know
Performed by The Gaither Vocal Band
The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
In the time of Herod the king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.
Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the
right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him,
he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel
said to him:
Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has
been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you
are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight
to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he
will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take
wine of other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the
Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will
he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before
the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts
of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the
wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for
Zechariah asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years."
The angel answered,
I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God,
and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good
news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the
day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which
will come true at their proper time.
Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
When his time of service was completed, he returned home. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. "The Lord has done this for me," she said. "In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people."
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a
town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man
named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was
Mary. The angel went to her and said,
Greetings, you are highly
favored! The Lord is with you.
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of
greeting this might be. But the angel said to her,
Do not be
afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with
child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the
Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father
David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his
kingdom will never end.
How can this be, Mary asked the angel,
since I am a virgin?
The angel answered,
The Holy spirit will come upon you, and the
power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to
be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who
was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is
impossible with God.
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered.
"May it be to me as
you have said. Then the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"
And Mary said:
My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me--holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his decendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
The Birth of John the Baptist
When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, "No! He is to be called John."
They said to her,
There is no one among your relatives who has that
Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to
name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone's
astonishment he wrote,
His name is John. Immediately his mouth
was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising
God. The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill
country of Judea people were talking about all these things.
Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking,
What then is this
child going to be? For the Lord's hand was with him.
His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us-- to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.
And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.
The Birth of Jesus
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
And there were shepherds living out in the
fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at
night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and
the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they
were terrified. But the angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great
joy that will be for all the people. Today in the
town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,
Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Jesus Presented in the Temple
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
When the time of their purification according to the Law of
Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the
Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"),
and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the
Law of the Lord:
a pair of doves or two young pigeons.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.
The child's father and mother marveled at what was said
about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary,
This child is destined to cause the falling
and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will
be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts
will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul
There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
Luke 1:5 - 2:40