The Christmas Story (II) 圣诞节的故事(之二)


到伯利恒和耶稣基督的诞生

那时候,罗马皇帝凯撒奥古士都下令,整个罗马帝国的人们都必须办理户口登记注册,以便对人口进行普查统计。 这是第一次人口普查登记。当时正值居里扭做叙利亚总督, 因此,所有的人都回到自己的家乡去登记。

所以约瑟也离开加利利的拿撒勒城,到了犹太地区的一个叫伯利恒的城镇,此城是大卫家族的城镇。因为他是大卫家族的人,所以他到了那里。 他和马利亚一起去登记,因为马利亚已经许聘给了他,此时她正怀着孕。 他们在那里时,马利亚的产期到了, 生下了第一个儿子。因为客店没有地方容纳他们,她便把孩子用布包裹起来,放在马槽里。 

(路加福音第二章 1~7节)

 

天使拜访牧羊人

 一些牧羊人夜间露宿在野地里,照看羊群。 主的一个天使出现在他们面前,主的荣光照耀在他们的周围,牧羊人都非常惊恐。 天使对他们说不要害怕,我给你们带来了好消息。这个消息也将给普天下的人们带来极大的喜悦。 因为今天在大卫城里你们的救世主诞生了,他就是主基督。 你们在马槽里将发现有个用布包着的婴儿躺在那里,那就是给你们的记号。”  突然,一队天兵和天使一起出现,他们齐声称颂道: “荣耀归于至高无上的上帝,和平赐给在地上他所喜爱的人们。

然后,天使离开他们,返回了天上。牧羊人互相说道∶“我们到伯利恒去看看主告诉我们已经发生的事情吧。” 于是,这些牧羊人就急急忙忙赶到了那里,找到了马利亚和约瑟,也看见了躺在马槽里的婴儿。他们看到这个婴儿后,就把天使讲的关于这个婴儿的事情告诉了大家。 人们都为牧羊人告诉他们的事情感到惊讶。 但是,马利亚却把这些事情记在心上,反复地琢磨着。 牧羊人回去后,都为他们的所见所闻赞美上帝,因为他们耳闻目睹的事情正与天使所说的完全一致。

(路加福音 第二章 8~20节)

 

智慧者们来到耶路撒冷敬拜孩童基督

耶稣出生在犹太的伯利恒,他出生的时候正是希律王统治的时期。耶稣出生后,几个星相家从东方来到耶路撒冷。 他们问新出生的犹太王在哪里?我们在东方看见了显示他出生的那颗星星在天空中升起,我们就来向他敬拜。

希律王听说以后,非常不安。所有的耶路撒冷人都很担心。 于是希律召集所有的祭司长和律法师,向他们询问基督会在哪里出生。 他们告诉希律: “在犹太的伯利恒,因为先知是这样写的: ‘犹大土地上的伯利恒啊,你对犹太诸王来说绝不是无足轻重的,因为一位统治者要来自于你们,他将牧养我的子民—以色列。’” 

希律王秘密召见那几位从东方来的星相家,从他们那里了解到那颗星出现的准确时间, 并且派遣他们去伯利恒。希律说∶“请你们仔细打听那个婴儿的下落。找到后立即向我报告,好让我也去拜见他。” 星相家遵照国王的指示出发了。一路上,他们在东方看见的那颗星在天上一直为他们引路,引导他们来到那婴儿的住处上方后就停止不动了。 他们看到这颗星时,就欣喜若狂。 他们走进房子,看见婴儿和他的母亲马利亚在一起,就俯身拜他。然后打开为婴儿带来的宝箱,拿出金子、乳香和没药等礼物献给他。 然后,他们就从另一条路回家了,因为上帝托梦给他们,警告他们不要回去见希律。

(太福音 第二章 1~12节)


逃往埃及

星相家离开后,天使出现在约瑟的梦中,对他说赶快起来,带着婴儿和他的母亲,逃到埃及去吧。没有我的吩咐,你们不要离开那里。希律想要找到婴儿,杀掉他。”  约瑟急忙起床,连夜带着婴儿和他母亲逃往埃及。 他们一直住在那里,直到希律死去。这正好应验了上帝借先知的口说出的预言我从埃及把我的儿子召出来。”  希律发现受了星相家的骗,勃然大怒。他按照星相家的话推算出婴儿的年龄,然后下令把伯利恒和附近地区的所有两岁和两岁以下的男孩统统杀掉。

(马太福音 第二章 13~15节)


问题与讨论:

1. 什么是人口普查?为什么要有人口普查?

2. 您对于耶稣降生在这样一个卑微的环境下 - 旅店里没有房间,只有一个马棚,用马槽作为床 - 是不是适合作为一个皇帝?

3. 那些智慧者是怎么知道基督的诞生并在哪里?怎样才找到祂?

4. 希律王为什么对从东方来的智慧者的来到感到惊慌?他想要对耶稣做什么?

5. 您对圣诞节的故事是不是有什么深刻的印象?

6. 你是否想多知道一些关于耶稣的事?为什么?


Vocabulary and Definition:

decree (n):  an order usually having the force of law; a judicial decision of the roman emperor

register (v): to enroll one's name officially

manger (n): an open box in a stable or barn designed to hold feed for livestock

angel (n): a messenger of God, a spiritual being who serves God.

swaddling clothes (n): strips of cloth wrapped around an infant to restrict movement

heavenly host (n): an army of angels

glorifying (v): to elevate or magnify

prophet (n): a person chosen to speak for God and to guide the people of israel in the Old Testament of the Bible

ascertained (v): to find out or learn with certainty, discover

diligently (adv):  done or pursued with persevering attention; painstakingly

worshiped (v): to feel an adoring reverence or regard for (person or thing)

The Trip to Bethlehem and the Birth of the Christ Child

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So 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. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and 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. ~ Luke 2: 1 – 7 (NIV)

Angel Visits the Shepherds

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. ~ Luke 2: 8 – 20 (ESV)

The Wise Men Travel to Jerusalem to Worship the Christ Child

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

"'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him." After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. ~ Matthew 2:1 - 12 (ESV)

The Trip to Egypt

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt I called my son." ~ Matthew 2:13 – 15 (ESV)

 


Questions and discussion:

1. What is a census? Why is it done?

2. Why do you think Jesus was born into such humble surroundings – no room at the inn, a stable for a room, manger for a bed – unimpressive for a king?

3. How did the wise men know of the birth of Christ and where to find him?

4. Why was King Harod troubled by the coming of the wise men from the East? What is he going to do about the child Jesus?

5. What from the Christmas story made an impression on you?

6. Do you wish to learn more about Jesus?  Why or why not?

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