About 2000 years ago, there were two young Jewish people called Joseph and Mary, and they were engaged to get married. One day Mary was really surprised when suddenly an angel appeared and started talking to her.
"Mary," said the angel, "God has chosen you to be the mother of His Son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be a very important person. He will be king over Israel like king David was, but Jesus' kingdom will last for ever and ever."
Joseph wasn't very happy that Mary was going to have a child when she wasn't married, but God sent a dream to Joseph and told him to get married and look after Mary. So that is they did.When Mary was nearly ready to have the baby, the ruler of the land of Canaan (what we now call Israel) said that every family had to go to the place where they came from, to be counted. So Joseph and Mary set out on their way to Bethlehem, because they were descended from king David and that's where David came from. It would have been a difficult journey for them, because that was a long time before they had cars. Mary would probably have ridden on a donkey and Joseph would have walked, and it would have taken them at least three days to get there. And when they got there and they were tired, they found that all the places to stay in were full; so they had to go out the back to where they kept the animals. While they were staying there, Mary gave birth to Jesus and wrapped him up and put him in the animal's feeding trough.
This was a very important occasion for God, and soon after He sent an angel to visit some shepherds who were watching their animals during the night. God's glory shone around the angel, and the shepherds were really scared; but the angel told them not to be afraid, because there was good news,
'Today in David's city a baby has been born, and he is the Christ. You will find him wrapped up in clothes and lying in an animal's feeding trough."
Then all of a sudden, there were lots of angels there, and they sang and praised God with beautiful voices,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
They found Jesus and told everyone about what had happened. Some time later, some men arrived and went to the king. They had heard about the baby whom people said would be king, and a star had appeared to them in the sky which they followed. They wanted to see him. The king was really jealous and told them to come back and tell him when they found Jesus. The star guided them to exactly the right place, and after they had worshiped him they gave him some expensive presents. When they went to sleep they had a dream from God, which told them not to go back to the king Herod, so they went home another way. Joseph also had a dream from God, to go quickly to Egypt because the king would try to kill baby Jesus.
So Joseph, Mary and Jesus escaped to Egypt, an even longer journey away. Herod was really angry when he found out what had happened, and he commanded that all the young baby boys be murdered. Wasn't that a horrible thing to do!
Joseph, Mary and Jesus stayed in Egypt until God told them that the wicked Herod was dead and it was safe to return home, and they went back to their town Nazareth.
You can read this story for yourself in Luke chapter 1 and 2, and Matthew chapter 2.
See if you can answer these questions:
1. Who was Jesus' Father?
2. What did the angel tell Mary about what Jesus would do in the future?
3.What did the angels sing about to the shepherds?
4. How did Jesus escape being killed by the wicked Herod?