The birth of Jesus

My Bible-reading plan got derailed about six months ago, largely because of a chaotic schedule, including a move to a new town and a new job. Those are just excuses, really, but the bottom line is that my morning readings have tended to be more “random” lately. In the mornings I read Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost for His Highest,” the best daily devotional book I’ve ever read. My Uncle Bill gave me a copy when I graduated from college, and now I have a version that’s in more-modern language (but I like both versions). And then I try to read a passage of Scripture – some days the Psalms, some days a Proverb or two, other days whatever might relate to my current circumstances.

But as we celebrate the birth of our Savior this month, I am reading Luke 2, the best-known Bible version of the birth of Jesus.

Here it is in the New Living Translation, and tomorrow I may publish the King James version, which is how most of us read or heard it as children. King James may be harder to understand at times, but there are certain passages that are simply more poetic and traditional, and those are the words I want to read (or you can watch Linus recite it on “A Charlie Brown Christmas” tonight at 7 on ABC). But for today, here’s the NLT. I hope it blesses you.

Luke 2:1-20 (New Living Translation)

The Birth of Jesus

1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.

6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels

8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

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