The Christmas Story
Long ago, about 2000 years, when King Herod ruled Judea (now part of Israel),
God sent the angel Gabriel to a young woman who lived in the northern town of
Nazareth. The girl's name was Mary and she was engaged to marry Joseph.
The angel Gabriel said to Mary: 'Peace be with you! God has blessed you and is
pleased with you.' Mary was very surprised by this and wondered what the angel
meant. The angel said to her 'Don't be afraid, God has been very kind to you. You
will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and give birth to a baby boy and you will
call him Jesus. He will be God's own Son and his kingdom will never end.' Mary
was very afraid but she trusted God. 'Let it happen as God chooses.' she replied to
the angel. Gabriel also told Mary that her cousin, Elizabeth who everyone thought
was too old to have children, would have a baby boy whom God had chosen to
prepare the way for Jesus.
Mary said goodbye to her family and friends and went to visit her cousin Elizabeth
and her husband Zechariah. Elizabeth was very happy to see Mary. She knew that
Mary had been chosen by God to be the mother of his Son. An angel had already
told Zechariah that Elizabeth's baby would prepare people to welcome Jesus. He
was to be called John. Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then
returned home to Nazareth.
Joseph was worried when he found out that Mary was expecting a baby before
their marriage had taken place. He wondered if he should put off the wedding
altogether. Then an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said: 'Don't be afraid
to have Mary as your wife.' The angel explained that Mary had been chosen by
God to be the mother of his Son and told Joseph that the baby would be named
Jesus which means 'Saviour' because he would save people. When Joseph woke
up, he did what the angel had told him to do and took Mary as his wife.
At this time, the land where Mary and Joseph lived was part of the Roman Empire.
The Roman Emperor Augustus wanted to have a list of all