The Nativity of the Lord PART 1

A very heartfelt Merry Christmas to all at Catholic Answers. All my brothers and sisters in Christ, both current and future. Here is the Christmas narrative from Holy Scripture for anyone who may want to take 5 minutes out of their busy lives today, in order to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas.

The Nativity of the Lord

(From the Holy Gospels according to Saints Luke and Matthew)

 *When the sixth month came, God sent the angel Gabriel to a city of Galilee called Nazareth,**where a virgin dwelt, betrothed to a man of David’s lineage; his name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name was Mary.*Into her presence the angel came, and said, Hail, you  who are full of grace; the Lord is with you ; blessed are you  among women.**She was much perplexed at hearing him speak so, and cast about in her mind, what she was to make of such a greeting.*Then the angel said to her, Mary, do not be afraid; you  have found favor in the sight of God.**And behold, you  shall conceive in your womb, and shall bear a son, and shall call him Jesus.**He shall be great, and men will know him for the Son of the most High; the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob eternally;**his kingdom shall never have an end.*But Mary said to the angel, How can that be, since I have no knowledge of man?**And the angel answered her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you , and the power of the most High will overshadow you . Thus this holy offspring of yours shall be known for the Son of God.**See, moreover, how it fares with your cousin Elizabeth; she is old, yet she too has conceived a son; she who was reproached with barrenness is now in her sixth month,**to prove that nothing can be impossible with God.**And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be unto me according to your word. And with that the angel left her. 

 *In the days that followed, Mary rose up and went with all haste to a town of Juda, in the hill country**where Zechariah dwelt; and there entering in she gave Elizabeth greeting.**No sooner had Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, than the child leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth herself was filled with the Holy Ghost;*so that she cried out with a loud voice, Blessed are you  among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.**How have I deserved to be thus visited by the mother of my Lord?*Why, as soon as ever the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy.**Blessed are you  for your believing; the message that was brought to you from the Lord shall have fulfillment 

 *And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord;**my spirit has found joy in God, who is my Savior,*because he has looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid. Behold, from this day forward all generations will count me blessed;*because he who is mighty, he whose name is holy, has wrought for me his wonders.**He has mercy upon those who fear him, from generation to generation;**he has done valiantly with the strength of his arm, driving the proud astray in the conceit of their hearts;**he has put down the mighty from their seat, and exalted the lowly;**he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty-handed.*He has protected his servant Israel, keeping his merciful design in remembrance,**according to the promise which he made to our forefathers, Abraham and his posterity for evermore.

Mary returned home when she had been with her about three months;

 *And this was the manner of Christ’s birth. His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, but they had not yet come together, when she was found to be with child, by the power of the Holy Ghost.**Whereupon her husband Joseph (for he was a right-minded man, and would not have her put to open shame) was for sending her away in secret.*But hardly had this thought come to his mind, when an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, and said, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take your wife Mary to yourself, for it is by the power of the Holy Ghost that she has conceived this child;*and she will bear a son, whom you  shall call Jesus, for he is to save his people from their sins.**All this was so ordained to fulfill the word which the Lord spoke by his prophet:**Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel (which means, God with us).**And Joseph awoke from sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, taking his wife to himself;**and he had not known her when she bore a son, her first-born, to whom he gave the name Jesus. 

 *It happened that a decree went out at this time from the emperor Augustus, enjoining that the whole world should be registered;*this register was the first one made during the time when Cyrinus was governor of Syria.**All must go and give in their names, each in his own city;**and Joseph, being of David’s clan and family, came up from the town of Nazareth, in Galilee, to David’s city in Judea, the city called Bethlehem,**to give in his name there. With him was his espoused wife Mary, who was then in her pregnancy;**and it was while they were still there that the time came for her delivery.**She brought forth a son, her first-born, whom she wrapped in his swaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 

 *In the same country there were shepherds awake in the fields, keeping night-watches over their flocks.*And all at once an angel of the Lord came and stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone about them, so that they were overcome with fear.**But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; behold, I bring you good news of a great rejoicing for the whole people.**This day, in the city of David, a Savior has been born for you, the Lord Christ himself.**This is the sign by which you are to know him; you will find a child still in swaddling-clothes, lying in a manger.*Then, on a sudden, a multitude of the heavenly army appeared to them at the angel’s side, giving praise to God, and saying,*Glory to God in high heaven, and peace on earth to men that are God’s friends. 

 *When the angels had left them, and gone back into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Come, let us make our way to Bethlehem, and see for ourselves this happening which God has made known to us.**And so they went with all haste, and found Mary and Joseph there, with the child lying in the manger.**On seeing him, they discovered the truth of what had been told them about this child.**All those who heard it were full of amazement at the story which the shepherds told them;**but Mary treasured up all these sayings, and reflected on them in her heart.**And the shepherds went home giving praise and glory to God, at seeing and hearing that all was as it had been told them. 

*Jesus was born at Bethlehem, in Judea, in the days of king Herod. And thereupon certain wise men came out of the east to Jerusalem,**who asked, Where is he that has been born, the king of the Jews? We have seen his star out in the east, and we have come to worship him.**King Herod was troubled when he heard it, and all Jerusalem with him;**so that he assembled all the chief priests and learned men among the people, and inquired of them where it was that Christ would be born.**And they told him, At Bethlehem in Juda; so it has been written by the prophet:**And you , Bethlehem, of the land of Juda, are far from the least among the princes of Juda, for out of you will arise a leader who is to be the shepherd of my people Israel.**Then, summoning the wise men in secret, Herod questioned them closely upon the time of the star’s appearing.*And he sent them on their way to Bethlehem, saying to them, Go and enquirer carefully for the child, and when you have found him, bring me back word, so that I too may come and worship him.**They obeyed the king, and went on their journey; and all at once the star which they had seen in the east was there going before them, till at last it stood still over the place where the child was.*They, when they saw the star, were glad beyond measure;**and so, going into the dwelling, they found the child there, with his mother Mary, and fell down to worship him; and, opening their store of treasures, they offered him gifts, of gold and frankincense and myrrh.*Afterwards, because they had received a warning in a dream forbidding them to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by a different way.

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