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The Christmas Story

The birth of Jesus and the visits of the shepherds and Wise Men.
Contributed by Lars-Goran Ronnberg
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This story happened a little over 2000 years ago. Joseph and Mary lived in the city of Nazareth in Israel. They loved each other and were engaged to get married. – Slide 1
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When Mary was alone at home, she was so happy when she thought of Joseph and what a wonderful man he was. ‘Oh! To think that I will soon be able to marry Joseph.’ – Slide 2
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One day, an angel named Gabriel suddenly appeared to her. Mary was very frightened, but the angel said: ‘Mary! Do not be afraid! I bring a message from God that the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will conceive and give birth to the Son of God. You will give Him the name Jesus. He will reign forever and save people from their sins.’ – Slide 3
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Mary replied, ‘I am the servant of the Lord. May it happen as you have said.’ Then the angel Gabriel left Mary. – Slide 4
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Mary told Joseph what had happened. ‘I will have a baby and God in heaven is the father of the child!’  <br/>Joseph was very surprised and shocked. How could he believe this? – Slide 5
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Joseph became very sad and wondered whether to call off the wedding. Mary pleaded, ‘Joseph, you have to trust me!’ But Joseph went home very upset. – Slide 6
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Maria was upset too. She loved Joseph so much … – Slide 7
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Joseph loved Mary and that night he had such a hard time sleeping. What was he to do? – Slide 8
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In the end he fell asleep. Then something very strange happened! – Slide 9
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Joseph had a powerful dream in which an angel appeared to him. The angel told him that all Mary had said was true. He should not be afraid to marry Mary for the baby she would have would be God’s son. They were to name him Jesus, meaning Saviour, as He would save people from their sins. – Slide 10
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Joseph went to Mary and told her what the angel had told him. And he said he still wanted to marry her! – Slide 11
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Both Mary and Joseph were so happy that they had been chosen to look after God’s Son. Mary was miraculously expecting a child from God. – Slide 12
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Emperor Augustus of Rome wanted control over all people and the taxes they paid. So, everyone in the Roman Empire was ordered to go to the place where they were born for a tax census. – Slide 13
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Joseph and Mary were from families living in Bethlehem who were related to King David, who had reigned over Israel 800 years earlier. Even though the baby Mary was expecting was due to be born soon, they had to take the long journey south to Bethlehem. It took them about three days to get there. – Slide 14
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As they approached Bethlehem, they were both very tired and Mary said, ‘It's good that we're nearly there. I hope there is a room available where we can stay.’ – Slide 15
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But Bethlehem was full of people returning for the tax census. All the inns, hotels and places to stay were fully booked. – Slide 16
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Mary and Joseph were exhausted and needed a place for Mary to give birth.  An innkeeper told them there were no rooms available but they could shelter in his stable if they wanted. Joseph and Mary headed to the stable to rest. – Slide 17
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They were so grateful that they found somewhere to sleep. – Slide 18
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They knew they would soon have to stand in a long queue, give their names and details to the Roman tax authorities. – Slide 19
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One night when Mary and Joseph were in the stable, Mary gave birth to the baby Jesus. ‘Oh, how sweet he is,’ Mary exclaimed. <br/>‘Yes, you are holding Jesus, the Son of God and the Savior of the world,’ said Joseph. <br/>‘We have nowhere to put baby Jesus,’ said Mary.  <br/>‘We can wrap Him up warmly and lie Him down in this manger,’ Joseph suggested. – Slide 20
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So they carefully wrapped Jesus in swadding cloths, laid Him in the manger and looked after Him. – Slide 21
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Suddenly there was a knock on the door of the stable! ‘Who could be visiting us this at time of night?’ they wondered. – Slide 22
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When Joseph opened the door, some local shepherds were standing there. They asked if there was a newborn baby in a manger in the stable.  <br/>When Joseph showed them baby Jesus lying in the manger, the men were very happy. They explained they had been guarding their flock of sheep when a great angel of God had appeared to announce, ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy for all the people.  Today in Bethlehem a Saviour has been born to you. He is the Messiah, the Lord. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ – Slide 23
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Oh how glad the shepherds were to see Jesus, the Savior of the world. And He was lying in a manger, just like the great angel had said. They told Joseph and Mary that they had also seen a very large choir of angels singing, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom His favour rests.’ – Slide 24
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When the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were so excited they told everyone they met what had happened. And Mary and Joseph were happy to take care of Jesus. – Slide 25
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After a while, some Wise Men travelled on a long journey from the east to arrive in Jerusalem. A very big star had appeared to them in their land, as a sign that a new king had been born in Israel. They had travelled to bring gifts for the newborn King. When the people of Jerusalem heard this, they were greatly amazed and terrified. – Slide 26
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The most terrified to hear this news was King Herod in his palace in Jerusalem. He absolutely did not want anyone but him or one of his sons to be king of Israel. So he ordered the Wise Men to his palace. – Slide 27
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When the Wise Men came to King Herod they told him about the new great star that had appeared and they had followed. The star was a sign that a new King had been born. – Slide 28
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King Herod called the priests of Israel and asked if they understood what had happened. ‘Where do the prophets say this new king will be born?’ he asked nervously. <br/>The priests examined their ancient scrolls and answered: ‘God's prophet Micah, who lived 700 years ago, wrote that the Son of God would be born in the city of Bethlehem. And He will be King forever.’ – Slide 29
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Now King Herod was thinking evil thoughts. He needed to know where this new king was so he could kill Him. – Slide 30
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King Herod secretly called the Wise Men again, ‘Go and find this child and report back to me so I can also go and worship Him.’ But he was not planning to worship Jesus but send his soldiers to put the newborn King to death. – Slide 31
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The Wise Men continued their journey to Bethlehem and the big star appeared in the sky again to lead them to the house where Mary, Joseph and Jesus were living. – Slide 32
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When the Wise Men arrived, they were so happy to see Jesus. They praised Jesus and gave Him their gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.  <br/>That night they were warned of Herod’s evil plans in a dream. – Slide 33
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In the dream God warned them not to return to King Herod in Jerusalem. So they returned home by another route. – Slide 34
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Joseph also had a dream. He saw an angel who warned him to take Mary and Jesus and immediately flee to Egypt. That night Joseph, Mary and Jesus quickly packed their belongings and set off for Egypt. They stayed there for a few years until King Herod died. Then they returned to Israel and settled in Nazareth. – Slide 35
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The Bible says in John chapter 3 verse 16: God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, that everyone who believes in Him should not be lost but have eternal life. – Slide 36
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