|The Christmas Story – based on The Lion First Bible (abridged)
Mary and the Angel
Mary was so busy with her thoughts that she jumped when she heard the voice. She had been thinking of her wedding day and marrying Joseph.
She turned to look and her eyes grew round with surprise.
For there, by the door, stood a shining angel!
“I bring good news Mary,” Angel Gabriel said gently. “God has a wonderful plan for you. You are going to have a baby – a very special baby. His name is Jesus. He will be God’s promised King. God himself will be His Father.”
The Journey to Bethlehem
In the far-away city of Rome, Emperor Augustus needed money.
“Write down the names of all the people in every country that I rule,” he said. “I want to make sure they pay my tax.”
This order reached as far as Nazareth where Mary and Joseph lived.
“We must go to Bethlehem,” Joseph said, “to put our names on the Emperor’s list.”
It was a long way and Joseph was worried about Mary. Her baby was due soon. But they had to go.
The Very Special Baby
When they got to Bethlehem, the town was full of people.
There wasn’t one spare room or bed. Even the inn was full!
There was only one place left: the place where the animals slept!
They got there just in time. Very soon, Mary’s baby was born.
There was no cot to put him in – just a manger, where the animals were fed.
Joseph filled it with clean straw, while Mary wrapped her baby tight.
Safe in the manger, little Jesus slept…
News for the Shepherds
Outside on the hills, the sheep were safe in their pen.
And all night long the shepherds watched out for danger.
All was dark. All was quiet.
Then suddenly the sky blazed with light, too bright to look at. An angel was standing there. He spoke to the shepherds in a loud, clear voice:
“Good news! Today in Bethlehem, your King is born. God’s promised King! Go and see for yourselves! You will find him lying in a manger!”
At once the sky was full of angel voices:
“Glory to God in Heaven and peace on earth!”
And the shepherds hurried off to Bethlehem.
Visitors from the East
Some visitors from the East had heard of a new king. They saw a bright new star shining in the sky - a new star for a new king. They followed it to Bethlehem. It shone in the sky right over the place where Jesus was.
“At last, we have found the new king,” they said, as they knelt down before him. Then out of their bags came the presents they had brought him.
“My gift is gold,” said the first visitor.
“My gift is frankincense,” said the second.
“My gift is myrrh,” said the third.
These were costly presents for a King - strange things to give a baby!