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Luke  ◦   Chapter 2

1It was during the time when Caesar Augustus ordered that a census be taken of the entire Roman empire.2This was the first census, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.3Everyone was required to go to their hometown to register.

4So Joseph, being a descendant of David, left Nazareth in Galilee and went to Bethlehem, the city of David, in Judea.5He went there to register with his fiancee, Mary, who was pregnant.6While in Bethlehem, Mary went into labor,7and gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in fragments of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough because there was no room for them in the inn.

8Nearby shepherds lived out in the fields, watching over their flocks at night.9One of God's angels appeared to them, and the fiery brilliance of heavenly light shone all around them; and they trembled in fear.10But the angel said gently to them, "Don't be afraid. I've come to share with you the best news of incredible joy that is for all humanity.11Today, in Bethlehem, the city of David, the promised Savior was born: he is Christ the Lord.12You will recognize him by this: You will find the baby wrapped in fragments of cloth, lying in a feeding trough."

13Then a great number of heavenly beings appeared with the angel, and they all began singing praises to God.14They sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to every person who partakes of his goodness."

15After the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Let's go to Bethlehem right now and see what God has revealed to us."

16So they rushed to Bethlehem and found Mary, Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough.17Once they had seen him, they began telling everyone what they had been told about the child,18and those who heard their account were astounded.19But Mary held these things close to her heart and contemplated their meaning.20The shepherds returned to their flocks with hearts overflowing with praise and thanksgiving to God for all they had seen and heard, which was exactly as the angel said it would be.

21Eight days later, on the day of his circumcision, he was named Jesus — the name the angel gave Mary before the baby was conceived.

22When their time of purification — according to the script given through Moses — was complete, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.23The Lord's little theater had a script which directed, "Every firstborn male is to be dedicated to the Lord,"24and to present a sacrificial offering as the Lord's script directed: "A pair of doves or two young pigeons."

25In Jerusalem, there was a faithful and pure-hearted man named Simeon. He was waiting to see the Deliverer promised to come through Israel; and his mind was enlightened by the Holy Spirit.26The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before he had seen God's Remedy.27Impressed and directed by the Holy Spirit, he went to the temple courts. When Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to fulfill the rituals required by the script,28Simeon held him in his arms and praised God. He said:

29"Sovereign God, you have kept your promise to me and now I can retire in peace.30For with my own eyes I have seen your Remedy31whom you have sent for all the people to behold — 32a beacon of truth to enlighten the world — and for the complete restoration and glorification of your triumphant people."

33The boy's father and mother were deeply moved by what this man said about Jesus.34Then Simeon gave them his blessing and said to Mary, the boy's mother: "This child's purpose and mission is to cause the downfall of selfishness and the rising up of love in those who overcome through God's power, and to be the supreme evidence of God's character of love; but many will oppose him.35As a result, the true thoughts and motives of many hearts will be revealed, and a sword will pierce your soul."

36Anna, the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher, was one of God's spokesperson. She was quite old at eighty-four; her husband had died after seven years of marriage,37and she had never remarried. She stayed at the temple and worshipped constantly, day and night, fasting and praying.38She approached them right then, gave thanks to God, and began speaking about the child to everyone looking for the healing and restoration of Jerusalem.

39When Joseph and Mary had completed all that the Lord's script had required, they went home to Nazareth in Galilee.40And the child grew physically strong and mentally wise, for he was the grace of God.

41Each year, Jesus' parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast.42When he was twelve years old, they went to the Feast, as was their custom.43After the Feast ended, his parents left for home, but unbeknownst to them, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem.44Thinking that he was with them, they traveled on for the entire day, and then they began to search for him amongst their friends and relatives.45When they could not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.46After three days of searching, they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the professors, listening and asking questions.47All those who heard him were astonished at his level of understanding and the depth of his answers.48His parents were amazed when they saw him. His mother asked him, "Son, why did you do this to us? Your father and I have been frantically looking for you."

49Jesus replied, "Why did you search all over for me? Didn't you know I would be in my Father's house?"50But they didn't comprehend what he meant.51So he left with them and went back to Nazareth and was an obedient son. His mother cherished all of these experiences in her heart,52and Jesus developed a perfect human character in harmony with God — full of strength and wisdom.