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  The Great Bible Story #89
Responses to Jesus' birth

Jacob Ninan
When Jesus was born, there were some shepherds in the field with their sheep. Suddenly an angel appeared to them and announced that the Messiah had been born in Bethlehem and they could identify Him sleeping in a manger wrapped up in cloth. Immediately the sky was filled with angels singing praises to God. The shepherds got up, went to Bethlehem and saw the baby Jesus just as they had been told.

On the eighth day after birth Jesus was circumcised, and after the days of purification for Mary were over according to the Jewish laws, His parents took Him to the temple in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices and to dedicate the first born. There they met an old and godly man called Simeon to whom God had promised that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. When he saw Jesus he gave thanks to God for fulfilling His promise. He told Mary that Jesus would lead to the rise and fall of many and prophesied that she would one day feel pain because of Him as if a sword was piercing her. An elderly widow called Anna saw Jesus and told everyone that this was the promised One from God.

Some wise men in the east saw a special star in the sky when Jesus was born, and following the direction of the star they came to Jerusalem, looking for the One who was born to be the King of the Jews. When Herod heard this He was disturbed, and told them to report to him after they located this baby. So they followed the star and reached the place where Jesus was. When they saw Him they bowed down, worshipped Him and gave gifts to Him. When they were planning to go back to Herod, they were warned by God in a dream not to do that. So they returned to their place another way. At this time God also warned Joseph in a dream to leave that place, flee to Egypt and stay there till it was safe to return, because Herod was going to seek to destroy Him.

When Herod realised that the wise men had tricked him, he was furious. He calculated the time which he had heard from the wise men about the birth of Jesus, and made an order that all boys under the age of two who were in and around Bethlehem should be killed. A great cry rose up when this took place. But Jesus was secure in Egypt.

When Herod finally died, an angel told Joseph in a dream that now it was safe to return. So Joseph, Mary and Jesus returned to Nazareth where Joseph and Mary had been in the first place. Jesus grew up there, increasing in wisdom and the grace of God.

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