Christmas - A Narration
Music & Narration by Jody Graves

This is the story of the most important birth of all time... just like your own.

1. The Angel Gabriel Visits Mary
    Mary Visits Elizabeth
    The Birth of John the Baptist
    Joseph Consoled by Angel, Joseph and Mary Marry
It was a beautiful evening crystal clear and crisp. Millions of stars shinning.
A special night.
Mary sat there gazing out her window thinking of her beloved, Joseph. They were soon to be married and she was so excited... and a little scared.

Suddenly she felt another presence in the room and turned and looked and saw the angel Gabriel standing there.
"Hello Mary", he said. "God is with you. You are favored among women"

This frightened and confused Mary. The things he said... what, what could this mean.

And Gabriel said, "Do not be afraid Mary for God loves you. You have found grace and absolute favor with Him. Now listen to me. You are going to become pregnant and will give birth to a son. You must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called 'Son of the Most High'. God will give him the throne of his forefather David and His Kingdom will never end."

This totally confused Mary. "How... this is impossible. How can I become pregnant?", she asked. "Joseph and I are not yet married. I... I have never been intimate with a man"

Gabriel answered her saying, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you. And the spirit of the most high will over shadow you as a shinning cloud and your holy baby will be called the Son of God. And listen, your cousin Elizabeth, in her old age, and though people say it is impossible for her has also conceived a son and is in her sixth month.
You see Mary, with God, nothing is impossible."

Mary listened intently. All her life she had loved God and would do anything he asked.
She looked up and quietly said, "I am the Lord's handmaiden. Let this happen to me just as you have said."

After the angel left Mary sat pondering this in her heart. Trying to take in this astonishing news the best she could. The angel had mentioned Elizabeth. Elizabeth was having a baby also. She would go visit Elizabeth and began making preparations for the journey.

As Mary made her way through the hill country to the village where Zacharias and Elizabeth lived, she thought, 'when I see Elizabeth she will help me better understand these wondrous things. I wonder how she's doing? What news will she have?'

And when see entered Elizabeth's house and greeted her she heard Elizabeth gasp and then smile. "What is it Elizabeth", she asked. Elizabeth told her that upon hearing her greeting she had felt her baby move inside of her as if leaping for joy.
"How blessed I am to have the mother of the Son of God visit me. And you Mary, you are blessed indeed"

Mary could see everything was just as the angel had said. Seeing Elizabeth this way helped her accept the marvelous events that were happening. As she hugged Elizabeth she asked, "how she knew of these things and what about her baby?"
Elizabeth explained, "my husband, Zacharias, was in the temple one day when the angel Gabriel came and told him we would have a son. A special child. We are to call him John. And Mary, when he grows up he will tell the people to be ready for their savior, the Messiah, is coming. Well, Zacharias didn't believe it because we're both so old. So the angel made him speechless. He can't speak a word. He has to write everything on a tablet. That's how I found out what the angel said."

Mary had listened quietly... "My soul praises the Lord God and rejoices in Him. He has done great things for us."
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months before returning home to Nazareth. Soon thereafter, Elizabeth's baby was born. Her friends and family thought the baby would be named Zacharias after his father but Elizabeth said, "No, he was to be called John"
Her relatives didn't understand for no one in their family was named John. They turned to Zacharias thinking he would agree with them. After writing on a tablet he held it up for them to read. They were astonished. For he had written, "His name is John."
It was then his voice returned and he began praising God.

As the news of this story spread throughout Judea people were awe struck and knew that God must surely be with this special child.

Now when Joseph heard the news of Mary's pregnancy he was confused and very sad, for he thought his bride-to-be had betrayed him. The only thing to do was to break the engagement.
In those days this was done with a divorce. Either publicly or privately. Joseph loved Mary too much to shame or disgrace her and decided this would be done secretly.
As he was thinking about this God sent an angel to him.
"Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife for the baby she is expecting is from the Holy Ghost. She will have a son and you must name him Jesus, which means savior for He will save his people from sin"

This ended Joseph's doubts and fears and being reassured he and Mary were married and began looking forward to the birth of their son.
2. The Trip to Bethlehem, Jesus Born in a Manger
One day Joseph came home with a look of concern. When Mary asked what was troubling him. He told her the Roman ruler, Caesar Augustus, had decreed that all the people living in the empire be registered. "I imagine this will be for tax purposes, but what concerns me is we must travel to Bethlehem for that is where my family is from and where we must register. The journey is more than 100 miles. I'm worried for you and the baby"
"Do not worry" Mary said, "We will be fine. God watches over us"

The trip would not be easy. Joseph and Mary packed everything they thought they would need. Mary even packed soft swaddling clothes for the baby as the time of birth was drawing near.
Then with Mary riding on a donkey she and Joseph began their trip.
The road was long and hard. Joseph did not like this at all but Mary seemed to be doing fine.
As they traveled they saw many other people making the same journey. The road was crowded with travelers.
Because of Mary's condition they traveled slowly. They realized they would be among the last to arrive in the little town of Bethlehem. How could Bethlehem hold so many people. They began to worry if they would find a place to stay. All the inns would be full.

When they arrived in Bethlehem most all the other travelers had settled in.
Joseph led the donkey through the narrow busy streets looking for an inn that might have room for them. He had never seen Bethlehem so crowded. He must find lodging for Mary. Just then he saw an inn at the end of the street. Maybe, as this was the last inn, just maybe they would have room. Joseph waited... "We have no more room", the innkeeper said.
"Please", Joseph said, "Don't you have anywhere for us."
Then the innkeeper saw Mary... "Uh, the inn is full but you could stay in the stable if you don't mind the animals. At least you would have shelter"
"That would be fine." Joseph said, "Just fine, thank you."

They were tired from the journey and were grateful to have anywhere to rest.
Mary was especially relieved for she knew the baby would be born very soon.

And that is how God's son came to be born in a stable in Bethlehem.
And he was wrapped in swaddling clothes as Mary made him comfortable in a manger.
3. Shepherds Hear the Good News, The Angels' Proclamation
    Simon and Anna at the Temple, Christ Recognized
The night Jesus was born there were shepherds in the fields outside Bethlehem watching over their sheep. This job could be dangerous as sometimes wild animals would stalk and attack the sheep, so the shepherds would stay with their flock even through the night.
On this evening everything was quiet, most of the men were already sleeping. Suddenly the sky was filled with light as an angel appeared. The light was so bright it woke the sleeping shepherds. They were very scared as they had never seen anything like this.
Then they heard the soothing voice of the angel, "Do not be afraid. I bring you and everyone the most joyful news ever announced. The Savior, yes, the Messiah, the Lord has been born tonight in Bethlehem. You will find him wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger."

Then as the shepherds watched in amazement the night sky blazed as the angel was joined by a multitude of other angels. All saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace and goodwill toward men."

As the light faded and the angels were gone everything was once again quiet as the shepherds tried to take in what they had heard. Finally one said, "Come lets go now, lets go see this baby!"
Leaving their sheep they raced along paths leading to Bethlehem. As they reached the town they realized there were many mangers. How would they find the right one?
It seemed as if everyone was sleeping as they wandered through the streets looking for signs that someone was awake they spotted a light coming from a stable near an inn.
"Could this truly be where the Savior was born?"
As they nervously looked inside they saw just what the angel had said. There, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger was the baby Jesus with Joseph and Mary watching over him.
The shepherds fell to their knees in awe as they quietly began worshipping him.

Then they told Joseph and Mary what the angel had said and how many angels had visited them, all praising God.
And that morning the shepherds went through the town spreading this "good news" to everyone they met. And all those that heard were astonished.

And Mary quietly kept all these events in her heart and would treasure them and think of them often.

Now in those days, according to the law of Moses, if the first born child was a boy he would be taken to the temple and dedicated to God. When the time came for Joseph and Mary to dedicate Jesus they took him to the temple in Jerusalem.

There was a very old man living there in Jerusalem named Simon. God had promised him years ago that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. That very day the Holy Spirit had Simon go to the temple. When Simon entered the temple and saw the baby Jesus he knew instantly that he was looking at the Messiah.
He asked Mary if he could hold him. As he held Jesus he said, "Lord, now I can die a happy man. You have kept your promise. For I have seen the savior you have given the world. He is the true light that will shine on all nations and will be the glory of the people of Israel."

Joseph and Mary just stood there once again marveling at what was being said about Jesus.

Simon blessed both Joseph and Mary.
Then he told Mary that her heart would be broken many times because there would be people who would speak badly of Jesus but that also he would be the greatest joy for many others.

And at that time, Ana, who was a very old woman who never left the temple and spoke prophecies saw Jesus and began thanking God and telling everyone of the arrival of the Messiah.
4. King Herod & The Three Wise Men
    Herod's Plan, Escape to Egypt
    Return to Nazareth, Joy to the World
Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod who was then in his palace in Jerusalem.
From the east there came three wise men who studied the stars. They had arranged for a meeting with king. And they asked Herod where the King of the Jews had been born. They had seen his star rise in the East and had come to worship Him.
King Herod did not know how to answer them for he had no knowledge of the birth of Christ or any of the events that surrounded it. Their questions of a new king troubled him and so he called a meeting with the Jewish religious leaders and asked them if the prophets had told of the birthplace of Jesus.
They answered him, "It is written by the prophets that he will be born in Bethlehem."

When Herod learned this he again met with the three wise men and found out from them when it was exactly they had first seen the star.
Then he told them, "Go to Bethlehem and when you find the child come back and tell me so that I to may go and worship him."

Now when the three wise men started out once again the star appeared to them shinning over Bethlehem and they were excited and filled with joy.

When they arrived where Joseph, Mary and Jesus were they at once began worshipping him. Then they opened their presents and gave him gold, frankincense and myrrh.

When they returned to their own land they did not go back through Jerusalem to report to Herod for God had told them in a dream to return home another way.

King Herod was furious when he learned that the wise men had disobeyed him. He did not want anyone to take his throne and his plan was to have the child put to death when he found him. Herod knew that the baby was two years or younger for the wise men had told him they had first seen the star two years ago. The prophets had told him the child was to be born in Bethlehem. With this information King Herod sent his solders to have every baby 2 years old or younger killed in Bethlehem and the surrounding area.

Before the soldiers got to Bethlehem an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him of Herod's plans and to take Mary and the baby and flee to Egypt. And not to return until the angel told him it was safe.
"Mary" Joseph whispered, "Wake up. We must take Jesus and leave at once."
He told Mary of his dream as they gathered up their few belongings and slipt away into the night.

There was much sadness and weeping in Jerusalem for King Herod's soldiers had done what he had ordered ... and he was satisfied that no baby now existed to take his throne.

God's warning had come to Joseph in time. Mary and Jesus had reached Egypt in safety where Jesus grew bigger and stronger with Joseph and Mary watching over him with all their love.

One day, again in a dream, the angel came back to Joseph and told him King Herod had died.
Joseph, Mary and Jesus returned and went to live in Nazareth where Jesus spent his childhood growing and learning. Happy with his loving parents until He was a young man ready to begin his Heavenly Father's work... and spread his message of "Joy to the World".

Music & Narration by Jody Graves © Copyright 1996