Back to Joseph's story                  The Angels and the Shepherds

Now the Roman emperor, who was called Caesar Augustus, gave an order that there should be a census. This meant that everyone would have to go and register in a main town. Everyone's name would be written down as well as where they lived. In this way the emperor would know how to make everyone pay tax and the Romans would get a lot of money.

Mary was engaged to be married to Joseph and they travelled together to Bethlehem. They must have been anxious about going on this long journey because it was nearly time for Mary's baby to be born.
When they reached Bethlehem they went to an inn and asked for a room  but all the rooms had been taken. They stayed in the stable and Jesus was born there. Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger.

 Swaddling clothes were wrapped round the baby like bandages. This made the child feel warm and safe. A manger is a trough. Food is put into it for the animals to eat. Mary and Joseph did not bring a cradle with them but a manger is just the right shape. 

Mary, Joseph and Jesus

Now in some fields, not very far away, were some shepherds who were looking after their sheep at night.

Suddenly they saw an angel standing there and the light of God shone around them. They were terrified but the angel said,"Do not be afraid. I have good news for you and for everyone. The Messiah has been born in Bethlehem. This is the sign which will help you to recognise him. If you go there you will find him in his swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."

 Then the shepherds saw many more angels. The angels were praising God and singing "Glory to God in highest heaven and peace to men on earth."

After the angels had left them and gone into heaven the shepherds said to one another. "Let us go to Bethlehem and see for ourselves what the angel has told us."

picture of an angel with shepherds

 They went as quickly as they could and found their way to Mary and Joseph and they saw Jesus lying in the manger. They told everyone about the angels and what they had said. Everyone was astonished, except Mary who kept these sayings in her heart. From time to time she thought about them.

The shepherds went back to their sheep in the fields, glorifying God and praising him.

If you would like to read about what shepherds did click The Good Shepherd

or click  to read a story about a shepherd's son 

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