1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled
4so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold 5In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.
7But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. 8Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
10And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. 11Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.
17And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
18Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” 19The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.
20And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” 21Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple.
22When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. 23When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.
25“The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
The Birth of Jesus Foretold 26In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
33and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called
37For no word from God will ever fail.”
38“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth 39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
45Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Mary’s Song 46And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.
50His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
53He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful
55to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”
56Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
The Birth of John the Baptist 57When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son.
58Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. 59On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah,
60but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
61They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” 62Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things.
66Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.
Zechariah’s Song 67His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
68“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69He has raised up a horn
70(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us—
72to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant,
73the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear
75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,
78because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
80And the child grew and became strong in spirit
The Birth of Jesus
1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
2(This was the first census that took place while
3And everyone went to their own town to register. 4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
Jesus Presented in the Temple
22When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”
24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” 33The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,
35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,
37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.
38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. 39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.
40And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
The Boy Jesus at the Temple 41Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
50But they did not understand what he was saying to them. 51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.