1 Now it happened in those days that a decree was sent out from Caesar Augustus [the Emperor of the Roman Empire] requiring [people from] the whole empire to be registered [i.e., for taxation purposes]. 2 This was the first registration made while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone went to register in his own home town.
4 So, Joseph also went from the Galilean town of Nazareth to David's town, which was the Judean town of Bethlehem, because he was among the descendants and family of David. 5 [He went] to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him and who was pregnant [at the time]. 6 And it happened while they were there that the due date came for her to have the baby. 7 So, she bore her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in [linen] cloths and laid Him in an animal's feeding trough because there was no room for them in the lodge.
8 Now there were [some] shepherds in that region who were living in the fields and guarding their flocks [of sheep] at night. 9 [Suddenly] an angel from the Lord [was seen] standing near them and the glorious presence of the Lord shone around them, and they were very afraid. 10 And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for look, I am bringing good news that will cause great joy to all people. 11 For a Savior has been born today in David's city [i.e., Bethlehem], who is Christ the Lord [i.e., God's specially chosen one]. 12 And this is the sign [that will verify it] to you: You will find a baby wrapped in [linen] cloths lying in an animal's feeding trough."
13 Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a large number of the heavenly "army" [i.e., of angels], who were praising God and saying,
14 "May there be glory to God in the highest [heavens], and may there be peace on earth among men who are pleasing to God."
15 And it happened when the angels left them and returned to heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go to Bethlehem now and see what all happened that the Lord told us about."
16 So, they went quickly and found both Mary and Joseph with the baby, lying in the animal's feeding trough. 17 And when they saw this, they told [everyone] what the angel had said about this baby. 18 And all who heard it marveled at the things the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these things and wondered about them [often]. 20 Then the shepherds returned [to their fields], honoring and praising God for everything they had heard and seen, for it all happened just as they had been told.
21 Eight days later it was time to circumcise Jesus [i.e., to perform the Jewish rite of identity, signifying the responsibility to observe the law of Moses], and they named Him Jesus, which was the name given by the angel before He was [even] conceived. 22 Then when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were completed [Note: This was a set procedure required for a Jewish mother on the birth of a child. See Lev. 12:1-8], Joseph and Mary brought Jesus up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. 23 (It is recorded in the law of the Lord [Ex. 13:2, 12] that every firstborn male child be considered holy [i.e., specially dedicated] to the Lord.) 24 They came to offer a sacrifice of two doves or two young pigeons, in accordance with what is written in the law of Moses.
25 Now there was a righteous and devoted man named Simeon at Jerusalem, who was expecting the consolation of the Israelites [i.e., the coming of the Messiah to save them], and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 Now it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Christ [i.e., God's, specially chosen one]. 27 And he was led by the Holy Spirit into the Temple, and when Joseph and Mary brought the baby Jesus in, so they could do to Him what was customary under the law of Moses, 28 Simeon took Jesus in his arms, praised God and said,
29 "Master, you may now allow your servant to be released [i.e., die] in peace, according to what you said. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation [i.e., Jesus], 31 which [i.e., whom] you have prepared before all people [i.e., for their benefit], 32 [to be] a light for revealing [God's way of salvation] to the [unconverted] Gentiles, and a [source of] glory to your people, the Israelites."
33 And Jesus' [step-] father and His mother were amazed at the things said about Him. 34 Then Simeon [asked God to] bless them and said to Jesus' mother Mary, "Look, many Israelites will be caused to fall [i.e., into spiritual ruin] or rise [i.e., to spiritual renewal] because of Him. And [He will be] a 'sign' [for people] to speak against, 35 and thus reveal the thoughts of many hearts. Yes, and a sword will cut you [Mary] to the heart [i.e., causing you inward pain]."
36 And there was a woman prophet named Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, from the tribe of Asher [i.e., she was a descendant of one of Jacob's son]. (She was very old, having lived with her husband for [only] seven years after being married, 37 and has been a widow [all these years], and is now eighty-four years old.) She has never left the Temple, but worships [God] by fasting [i.e., going without food and/or water for religious reasons] and praying night and day. 38 She came forward at that very time and thanked God [in prayer] and spoke about the child [Jesus] to everyone [in the Temple area] who was expecting the redemption of the people of Jerusalem [i.e., their liberation from sin].
39 So, when Joseph and Mary had completed everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their [current home] town of Nazareth, in Galilee. 40 And the child [i.e., Jesus] grew and became strong. He was filled with wisdom and God's favor was upon Him.
41 Now Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem every year to attend the Passover Festival. [Note: This was the annual Jewish festival commemorating Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage under Moses' leadership]. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they [all] went up to the Festival as usual. 43 And when they had completed [all] the days [of festivities], and were returning [home], the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. Now His parents did not know this, 44 so thinking He was in the caravan, they continued traveling for an entire day [before] they began looking for Him among their relatives and friends. 45 And when they could not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for Him. 46 And it happened after three days that they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the middle of the [Jewish] teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 And all of them who heard Him were amazed at His understanding [i.e., of spiritual matters] and His answers [to questions they would ask Him]. 48 When His parents [finally] saw Him, they were very surprised and His mother asked Him, "Son, why have you treated us this way? Look, your [step-] father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
49 And He replied to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I had to be in my Father's house [i.e., the Temple]?" 50 But they did not understand what He meant when He said that to them.