In the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a Galilean town, Nazareth by name, to a young woman named Mary who was engaged to a man called Joseph (a descendant of King David).
The angel entered her room and said, “Greeting to you, Mary. O favoured one! – the Lord be with you!”
Mary was deeply perturbed at these words and wondered what such a greeting could possibly mean. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid Mary; God loves you dearly. You are going to be the mother of a son, and you will call him Jesus. He will be great and will be known as the Son of the most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his forefather David, and he will be king over the people of Jacob for ever. His reign shall never end.”
Then Mary spoke to the angel, “How can this be?” she said, “I am not married!” But the angel said to her “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the most high will overshadow you. Your child will therefore be called holy, the Son of God.”
“I belong to the Lord, body and soul,” replied Mary. “Let it happen as you say.” And at this, the angel left her. Afterwards, Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was also pregnant. She stayed with her three months and then went back to her own home.
Upon her return, just before their marriage, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. It was by the Holy Spirit, but he did not know that. Joseph was skeptical of her story about the angel and thought she had given herself to another man while she was visiting her cousin.
Now Joseph, her future husband, was a good man and did not want to see her disgraced (by embarrassing her publicly and refusing the marriage.) So, he planned to break off the engagement quietly. But while he was turning the matter over in his mind, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not hesitate to take Mary as your wife. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant and she will give birth to a son, whom you will call Jesus (the Saviour) for it is he Who will save his people from their sins”. All this happened to fulfill what the Lord said through the prophet Isaiah (7:14):
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son
and they shall call his name Immanuel.”
When Joseph woke up he did what the angel told him. He married Mary, but did not have relations with her as a husband until after she gave birth to her son.
At that time a proclamation was made by Caesar Augustus that all the inhabited world should be registered. This was the first census while Cyrenius was governor of Syria; and everybody went to the town of his birth to be registered. Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s town, Bethlehem, in Judea, because he was a direct descendant of David, to be registered with his wife Mary, now in the later stages of her pregnancy. So it happened that while they were there in Bethlehem the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to her first child, a son. And, as there was no place for them inside the inn, she wrapped him up in a blanket and laid him in a manger (a feeding trough for animals). Then Joseph gave him the name Jesus, just like the Angel of the Lord told him to do.
MAY HIS NAME BE PRAISED FOREVER AND EVER