By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT —  The best thing I saw on Facebook last night (or was it Twitter?) was “Put down your phone and enjoy your family!  Why are you reading this?”  #truth

I’m loath to blog politics or current events on Christmas Day even though there are some newsworthy stories worth examining right now.  (Did you read about the parents that were murdered by their daughter’s boyfriend?  Awful!)

As I sit here watching A Christmas Story for the sixth time (this year),  I’m wondering if it’s too early to ponder resolutions for 2018?  I don’t normally make resolutions but I am setting a couple of small goals for the new year.  I’m joining the paper planner craze after finally realizing I can’t keep up with things on a phone calendar the way I need to.  I customized a planner, placed my order, and have spent the past few days writing down dates, events, and to-do lists; I feel so much more organized already.

My intentions are good.  January and February will be filled up and then by March I probably won’t be able to tell you where the planner even is.  But I’m going to try to keep it going.

One of my major goals for the new year will be to de-clutter.  I have too much stuff.  I’m feeling the need to simplify.  We don’t need most of the stuff we accumulate through the years.  We will see how this goes.

I love Christmas; I love the magic of it and the opportunity to rest, recharge, see family, and refocus on those things that are most important.  So, no politics today.  Get off your computer.  Spend time with those who are still here with us.  Remember those who are gone.  Get outside.  But whatever you do, have a lovely Christmas.

And remember the words of Linus as he recites the Christmas story:

“Lights, please.”

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding

in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,

and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:

and they were sore afraid.

 

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold,

I bring you good tidings of great joy,

which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,

which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe

wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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,

good will toward men.

–Book 42, Luke (002:08-14)

The Bible, King James Version

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Merry Christmas all

As the snow falls down and I prepare to cook a Christmas Breakfast for my family I leave you today with the Christmas episode of Your Prayer Intentions my show from WQPH 89.3 FM that broadcasts every Saturday at Noon featuring today the entire Christmas Story in Order of it happening rather than each Gospel individually.

To listen click below and remember if you have prayer intentions feel free to send them to me and I’ll be more than happy to pray for them on the show.

May God bless and continue to bless you all on this first day of Christmas

Chicago’s “holiday tree” in 2011

By John Ruberry

The War on Christmas, the secular-progressives’ assault on Christmas and yes, religion, is fading away. And Christmas is winning.

In today’s video message to our military, some of whom of course belong to faiths other than Christianity, President Trump beamed, “I just want to wish everybody a very, very Merry Christmas, we say Merry Christmas, again, very, very proudly. Very very Merry Christmas.”

Nearly two years ago then-candidate Donald Trump mused, “When was the last time you saw ‘Merry Christmas?’ You don’t see it any more. They want to be politically correct. If I’m president, you’re going to see ‘Merry Christmas’ in department stores, believe me, believe me. You’re going to see it.”

And you know what, I’ve seen “Merry Christmas” in department stores this year. Yesterday at the end of the weekly meeting at my job my boss, who is Jewish, wished everyone “a very Merry Christmas.”

And I’m hearing more “Merry Christmases” this year than I’ve heard in years. Believe me. I figured this would happen, as I posted in this space on Christmas Day last year.

True, the counter-attack in the War on Christmas goes back at least five years, but Trump is the first prominent politician to embrace it, so the president is entitled to a victory dance as he rocks around the Christmas tree.

Blogger outside of Chicago’s Trump Tower

Closer to home, for me that is, comes this Christmas triumph. In 2011 for the first time there was a “holiday tree” at Chicago’s Daley Plaza. Rahm Emanuel is Chicago’s first Jewish mayor–and he’s also the city’s first secular-progressive one. And it was in his first year in office when the concept of a Chicago Christmas was axed. But this year it’s a Christmas tree again. I’m not sure when the switchback occurred, but it’s ironic to note that a couple of weeks ago the embattled mayor declared Chicago a “Trump-free zone.”

An hour ago, subbing for the usual host on This Week With George Stephanopoulos, Jonathan Karl wished viewers “a Merry Christmas” at the end of the show.

And from Morton Grove, Illinois I will do the same this Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas to you!

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Random, loose thoughts this week:

I went to see Star Wars Saturday.  Confession:  I’ve never seen any of the other Star Wars movies.  But, my son wanted to go and so I took him.  I liked it.  I probably won’t go back and watch all of the others but I did enjoy this one.  When John asked me to take him I said, “I’ll be lost as a goose – I won’t know what’s going on!”  True enough, but it was still good.  I have friends who are fans of the series and you pretty much can’t escape knowing something about the general story if you ever read a newspaper, magazine, Twitter, or otherwise get on the Internet.  That being said, I found Carrie Fisher’s scenes especially poignant and loved seeing her on screen.

Where I live, in Shreveport, we have not seen a white Christmas since 1929.  In all probability we won’t this year either, although for a day or two the weather folks were actually suggesting the possibility of snow next week.  It’s just as well.  Snow down here is a real mess; nobody knows quite what to do and it’s always a wet, heavy snow which then turns to ice and makes an even bigger mess.  But, for a moment, I was hoping…

Oh, and Jingle Bells is now racist.  So, there’s that.

The Detectorists is over.  I wrote in this space last month about the charming British series about a couple of metal detecting hobbyists and their quirky friends.  The third, and final series (season) just aired in Britain and will hit the U.S. after the first of the year. I was lucky enough each week to stream all six episodes and can now confess that I got misty-eyed at the end.  If you have not caught up with this series, Seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix – you have time to catch up before the third season airs.  The entire cast is strong and Mackenzie Crook is a genius. The show is so beautifully written and so subtle that you can watch it over and over and catch something new each time.  I can not rave about it enough.  Go watch.

Our local animal shelter continues to be a disgrace.  It just gets worse and worse.  Shameful and sad.

Christmas cooking: I’ve got to get my rum cake made today.  I have to make one more batch of Chex Mix (my fifth, or sixth…I lose count.)  I need a good recipe for cheese straws – I’ve lost the one my mother used.  I’m having a spiral cut ham for the family Christmas party and then gumbo on Christmas Day.  And it won’t be snowing.

Christmas cards:  we have a neighbor at the end of our block that writes a Christmas card for every person on the street and then she and her grandson walk the street every year and deliver the cards.  I think this is such an awesome little tradition and it does bring the neighborhood together.  So sweet.

I’m off to make a rum cake.  Have a good week!

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Are you trying to get into the Christmas spirit?  Already IN the spirit?  Here’s a list of things to do because it is Christmas (inspired by British Logic):

  1. Bake some fruitcake cookies (fruitcake is awful; fruitcake cookies are wonderful).
  2. Watch Love Actually.
  3. Mix up some spicy Bloody Marys and an assortment of garnishes. Invite friends over.
  4. Go to a really crowded shopping center. You don’t have to buy anything.
  5. Avoid every WalMart.
  6. Bake and decorate sugar cookies.
  7. Build a gingerbread village.
  8. Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
  9. Listen to Christmas music on Pandora, especially the traditional tunes.
  10. Hang tiny white lights around your kitchen.
  11. Make four batches of Chex Mix. Throw in whatever sounds good.  Distribute what you can’t eat to friends at the office.
  12. Wear Christmas socks.
  13. Go see Santa. Count how many children cry when their picture is taken with him.
  14. Put up a live Christmas tree.
  15. Have an argument with someone about white v. colored lights.
  16. Watch Christmas Vacation.
  17. Buy one really extravagant gift for someone who would least expect it but really deserves it.
  18. Write out Christmas cards: not the obligatory Xerox Christmas letter and not a Shutterfly photo of your perfect family – real cards with glittery Christmas scenes.
  19. Buy Christmas stamps for your Christmas cards.
  20. Stand in a really long line at the post office at absolutely the last possible minute.
  21. Put a red tablecloth on your table. Find some holly to use as decoration.  Bonus points if it has red berries.
  22. Postpone all of your gift wrapping until the last minute. Spread it out across the living room floor and do all of your wrapping in one evening.
  23. Forget where you hid at least one gift.
  24. Put antlers or a reindeer nose on your car.
  25. Attend a performance of The Nutcracker.
  26. Read a great Christmas book.
  27. Attend a local performance of Christmas music.
  28. Make a killer rum cake.
  29. Buy at least one present for yourself.
  30. Buy an advent calendar.
  31. Hang a live wreath on your door.
  32. Donate to the charity of your choice. Bonus points if it’s a local animal rescue or a homeless shelter.
  33. Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas.
  34. Attend a small-town Christmas parade.
  35. Eat your weight in Brach’s peppermint nougat.
  36. Make a pot of seafood gumbo. Serve with hot French bread.
  37. Watch the A Christmas Story
  38. Find some live mistletoe growing in a tree; knock it down and hang a sprig in a doorway. Do not do this at the office.
  39. Roast pecans. Add sugar and butter.
  40. Take your next door neighbor a plate of Christmas cookies.
  41. Treat yourself to a shot of really fine bourbon.
  42. Buy a poinsettia. Or two.  Or three.
  43. Build a bonfire.
  44. Go sledding. Unless you live in Louisiana.
  45. Play upbeat Christmas tunes over your outdoor speakers while doing yardwork. Look at how many neighbors come outside.
  46. Visit with neighbors.
  47. Have a really good cry for those you miss so badly it hurts.
  48. Check out the list of top 100 Christmas movies. Watch a few you’ve never seen.
  49. Make cheese straws. They are best with a cold bourbon over ice.
  50. Go to the midnight Christmas service at your church. Or someone else’s church.
  51. Attend a Christmas play.
  52. Go ice skating.
  53. Watch The Bishop’s Wife.
  54. Call your mother, if you can.
  55. Read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas with a child.

The most expensive turkey I ever got was free.

It was a cold and bleak night in early December. Dinner hadn’t gone so well – my wife was worried over how we would handle Christmas, and I had no answers for her. My newspaper had gone on strike in September, and there was no end in sight. Happy holidays? Humbug!

While Shirley was still working as a schoolteacher, our financial situation was grim, especially since we had just bought a house the previous summer.

As I watched the evening news and Shirley was doing the dishes, a knock came at the door. I was surprised – we rarely had unannounced visitors at night – so I was wary when I got up to answer it. My surprise grew even greater when I saw the fire chief of the city I covered as a reporter standing on the porch.

“The guys were getting the list together for our Christmas turkey giveaway, and your name came up,” the chief said. “We figured things might be tight for you because you’ve been on strike so long.”

I was almost speechless as he handed me a 12-pound frozen turkey, but I finally stammered out my thanks. I called in Shirley from the kitchen, and she managed to express our gratitude more eloquently.

The fire chief probably forgot about his visit to my home long ago, but I never did. It changed my life.

Ever since, I give special attention to people in need when the holidays roll around.

For the first few years after the strike, I couldn’t do much more than throw pocket change into a Salvation Army kettle. Our finances remained precarious, particularly because Shirley was laid off within a month after I found a new job.

But I was able to step up my game even after the kids arrived as I moved up to a well-paying position at a daily paper. I diversified my giving, too, adding a range of local charities to my list of beneficiaries. I found out the more I gave, the better I felt.

Unlike some of my friends, I try to keep my donations a secret. I give to receive an inner reward, not to demonstrate my generosity to the public. In fact, the only reason I’m writing this post is because it won’t appear under my real name.

My giving won’t set any records – I admire (and am a bit envious of) the good souls who anonymously drop gold coins in Salvation Army kettles – but I hope my contributions lift the spirits of at least a few people in despair and possibly inspire them to be more generous when they see better days.

By my count, that free turkey from the firefighters has cost me more than $3,000 to date. And I’m not done paying for it yet.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I loved Fausta’s view from her front porch Saturday; it looks sunny and warm and is exactly why I love living in the South.

This morning I was sitting in my swing under the magnolia tree, sipping my coffee, reading Southern Living magazine and watching the yellow hackberry leaves flutter to the ground like feathers.  It really never gets very cold here in Louisiana.  My husband grew up in Iowa and he swears that the reason he has trouble getting into the Christmas spirit is because it never gets cold here and there is no snow.

We sort of skipped Christmas last year; it had been a rough and expensive year and neither Steve nor I felt much like celebrating Christmas last year.  I’m known in my family for my ceiling-scraping traditional Christmas trees that are, of course, always real and feature our heirloom ornaments and real tinsel applied one single strand at a time.  It’s a herculean feat of decoration each year and I’ve always enjoyed it, but last year I just couldn’t muster the spirit.

I went to WalMart and I bought a fake, pre-lit tree and I bought blue and silver plastic ornaments.

You can not imagine the final damper this put on our Christmas holiday.

My grown son was horrified.  My friends were aghast.  Nobody could quite believe it.

I managed to make Chex Mix but there were no fruitcake cookies or fudge, and presents were token, impersonal items.

I just wanted it to be over.  It was too much pressure.

On December 26, I yanked that fake tree down, shoved it into a bag, and stuck it in the garage where it still is.  The tree was pretty enough and if there is a family in need in my area I’ll probably donate it to them.

This year has been a better one and although not without issues, so far they’ve all been things we can handle.  I’m in the Christmas mood this year and have put up my real Fraser fir, complete with lights and tinsel.  There are actually presents under the tree this year – well, not exactly under the tree yet because the new puppy would destroy them, but there are presents.  I made my Mama’s fruitcake cookie recipe, I’ve soaked the little things in Makers Mark, and they are aging nicely.  I made three giant pans of Chex Mix yesterday and I’ve taken full advantage of Cyber Monday.

The point is that sometimes these holidays are hard for people.  Very hard.  The pain we feel at the absence of people who can’t be here is very real.  The celebrations of our childhood are often romantic and lovely and we feel such a pressure to recreate those, but too often that can not be accomplished and we put more stress on ourselves.  I think as I grow older I’m learning to accept a new normal with the holidays, be it Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, whatever.

Somehow, skipping Christmas last year has helped me this year to see things differently. The holiday came and went last year whether I participated or not.  It wasn’t the end of the world and when it was over I was kind of glad I didn’t have a big mess to clean up and a lot of credit card bills to struggle with.  I was a little envious of all the big happy family gatherings I saw going on around me – we have a very small family and not all of us like each other very much – but it was fine.  I had those I love close to me and it really was just fine.

But this year, I’m ready to get back into the fray.  I want the pretty packages, the smell of the tree, the twinkly lights, and the pleasure of finding just the right gift for someone.

I don’t want to be didactic, but try to be aware of those you know who may be struggling with depression or other issues during the holidays.  For a million reasons there are people that do not feel the Christmas spirit that perhaps you feel.  For many, the pressure to be as happy and perfect as the people in the Christmas commercials is just too much. For a lot of us, the pain of an absent loved one is crippling.

Be kind. Be generous when you can.  Smile at people.  Step back from politics for a while.  Quit worrying about the tax bill.  Who cares what Trump said on Twitter?  Sit on your porch, in your swing, in front of your fireplace, and enjoy the season in your own way.  If that means skipping Christmas or going all out, do whatever you need to do.

But most of all, be nice.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

I talked to Todd Zimmerman author of Oliver the Ornament at the Catholic Marketing network Conference

His website is here

The Rest of my Catholic Marketing Network posts are here.

From Trump’s Twitter feed

By John Ruberry

For as long as I can remember the words “Merry Christmas” have been pushed away from public life, in the both the political and business world. I get it. No one wants to offend people who aren’t Christian, or those few Christians, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who shun Christmas.

However, 83 percent of Americans are Christian, and for many of them Christmas is their favorite time of the year. And I know some secular progressives who set up Christmas trees in their home.

When  President-elect Donald Trump on the later stops of his ‘thank you’ tour replaced his ‘USA’ lectern logo with a ‘Merry Christmas’ one, it got my attention.

And Trump’s Christmas spirit didn’t end there

“We’re gonna start saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” Trump said at a Michigan ‘thank you’ rally. “How about all those department stores, they have the bells and they have the red walls and they have the snow, but they don’t have ‘Merry Christmas. I think they’re gonna start putting up ‘Merry Christmas.'”

About ten years ago the ‘War on Christmas’ compelled Christians who wished to say ‘Merry Christmas’ at their workplace to bite their tongues, including those working extended Christmas shifts at retail stores to accommodate Christmas shoppers. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, one of the defenders in the ‘War on Christmas,’ declares the conflict all but over, as increasingly more retail outlets use the word ‘Christmas” in their holiday advertisements. On Christmas Eve I was greeted with a hearty “Merry Christmas” when I walked into the local Walmart–and when I left.

Meanwhile, the outgoing president’s final Christmas card, oops, I mean holiday card, oh wait, make that a seasonal card, features the first family and a sprig of holly. Nothing else.

I’ll be shocked if Donald Trump’s first presidential Christmas card isn’t much different, even though his oldest daughter is a convert to Judaism.

Howard Kurtz ended today’s always excellent Fox News’ Media Watch program with “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.” Yes, like a rare planetary alignment, Christmas Eve and the first day of Hanukkah share the came spot on the calendar.

And from me to you, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

If you want to know why you are having a holiday or earning time and a half today, this is it:

In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.  Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.  But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years.

Once when he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God, according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.  Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense.

Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.  But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.  And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of (the) Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. 6 He will be filled with the holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.  He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”

Then Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

And the angel said to him in reply, “I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.  But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”

Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary.  But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but remained mute. Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home.

After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying, “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.”

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.  And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”  But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.  Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,  and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”

And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived 13 a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy,
according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord 9 appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.”

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.

Then Zechariah his father, filled with the holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and brought redemption to his people.
He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant,
even as he promised through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old:
salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,
to show mercy to our fathers and to be mindful of his holy covenant
and of the oath he swore to Abraham our father, and to grant us that,
rescued from the hand of enemies, without fear we might worship him
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us
to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, 2 behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star 3 at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.'” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”

After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”


The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,

“Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

“A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.”

When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” He rose, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, 11 he was afraid to go back there. And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee.  When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.