Christmas Story 圣诞节的故事

那时候,罗马皇帝奥古斯都颁布命令,要罗马帝国的人民都办理户口登记。这是在居里扭任叙利亚总督的时候头一次的户口登记。大家都回本乡去办理登记。约瑟也从加利利的拿撒勒城往犹太去,到了大卫的城,叫伯利恒;因为约瑟属于大卫的宗族,他要跟他订了婚的马利亚一起登记。马利亚已经有了身孕,

当他们在伯利恒的时候,她的产期到了,生下头胎儿子,用布包起来,放在马槽里,因为客栈里没有地方让他们住。

 

在伯利恒郊外,有些牧羊人夜间露宿,轮流看守羊群。主的天使向他们显现;主的荣光四面照射他们,他们就非常惊惶。可是天使对他们说:不要害怕!我有好消息告诉你们;这消息要带给万民极大的喜乐。今天,在大卫的城里,你们的拯救者——主基督已经诞生了!你们会看见一个婴儿,用布包着,躺在马槽里;那就是要给你们的记号。

忽然,有一大队天军跟那天使一起出现,颂赞上帝说:

愿荣耀归于至高之处的上帝!

愿和平归给地上他所喜爱的人!

天使离开他们回天上去的时候,牧羊人彼此说:我们进伯利恒城去,看主所告诉我们那已经发生了的事。 于是他们急忙赶去,找到了马利亚、约瑟,和躺在马槽里的婴儿。牧羊人看见以后,把天使所说关于婴儿的事告诉大家听见的人对牧羊人的话都很惊讶。马利亚却把这一切事牢记在心里,反覆思想。牧羊人回去,为他们所听见所看到的事赞美歌颂上帝,因为所发生的事跟天使所告诉他们的相符。

 

希律作王的时候,耶稣诞生在犹太的伯利恒以后,有几个星象家从东方来到耶路撒冷;
他们问:“那出生要作犹太人的王的在哪里?我们在东方看见了他的星,特地来朝拜他。”

希律王听了这话,着急不安;整个耶路撒冷的人也同样不安。希律就召集了所有的祭司长和民间的经学教师,问他们:“基督该诞生在什么地方?”

他们回答:“在犹太的伯利恒,因为先知曾这样写着:

犹大地区的伯利恒啊,你在犹大诸城邑中并不是最小的;

因为有一位领袖要从你那里出来,他要牧养我的子民以色列。”

于是,希律暗地里召见从东方来的星象家,向他们查问那颗星出现的准确日子,然后吩咐他们前往伯利恒,说:“你们去,仔细寻找那小孩子,找着了就来向我报告,我也好去拜他。”

听了这话,他们就走了。这时候,他们在东方看见的那颗星又出现,并且在前头引导他们,一直来到小孩子出生地方的上面才停住。他们看见那颗星,真是欢欣快乐。

他们进了屋子,看见小孩子和他的母亲马利亚,就俯伏朝拜这孩子,然后打开宝盒,拿出黄金、乳香、没药等礼物献给他。

在梦中,上帝指示他们不要回去见希律,于是他们从另一条路回自己的家乡去。

他们走了以后,主的天使在约瑟的梦中显现,说:“起来!带着小孩子和他的母亲逃往埃及,住在那里,直到我吩咐你离开;因为希律要搜索这孩子,要杀害他。”于是,约瑟动身,连夜带着孩子和他的母亲逃往埃及,住在那里,直到希律死了。这事是要应验主藉着先知说的话:“我从埃及把我的儿子召出来。”

希律发现自己受了星象家的愚弄,非常恼怒,就按照他向星象家打听到那颗星出现的时期,派人把伯利恒和附近地区两岁以内的男孩子都杀掉。这事应验了先知耶利米所说:

在拉玛听见了号啕大哭的声音。

蕾洁为着孩子们哀哭,

不肯接受安慰,

因为他们都死了。

希律死了以后,在埃及,主的天使在约瑟的梦中显现,说:“起来!带着小孩子和他的母亲回以色列地,因为那些想杀害这孩子的人已经死了。”

于是约瑟动身,带着小孩子和他的母亲回以色列去。约瑟因为听见亚基老继承他父亲希律作犹太王,不敢到那里去。后来,主又在约瑟的梦中指示他,他就避到加利利地区,在叫拿撒勒的城定居下来。这就应验了先知所说的话:“他要称为拿撒勒人。”



About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:

      Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
      Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”

When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified—and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well. Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

They told him, “Bethlehem, Judah territory. The prophet Micah wrote it plainly:

    It’s you, Bethlehem, in Judah’s land,
    no longer bringing up the rear.
    From you will come the leader
    who will shepherd-rule my people, my Israel.”

Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, “Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I’ll join you at once in your worship.”

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!

They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country.

After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.”

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”

Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he’d gotten from the scholars.) That’s when Jeremiah’s sermon was fulfilled:

    A sound was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and much lament.
    Rachel weeping for her children,
    Rachel refusing all solace,
    Her children gone,
    dead and buried.

Later, when Herod died, God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: “Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead.”

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother, and reentered Israel. When he heard, though, that Archelaus had succeeded his father, Herod, as king in Judea, he was afraid to go there. But then Joseph was directed in a dream to go to the hills of Galilee. On arrival, he settled in the village of Nazareth. This move was a fulfillment of the prophetic words, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
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