The Christmas Story in Bethlehem
The Angels and the Shepherds
"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a from Caesar Augustus, that all his empire should be taxed. This same taxing was when Cryenius was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed, everyone in his own city.
"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David,) to be taxed, with Mary his espoused wife, she being great with child.
"And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was none to give room for them in the inns.
"And there were in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, an angel of the Lord appeared unto them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.
"But 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 Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this is the way you shall find the babe, he is wrapped in swaddling clothes, and is 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; goodwill to men.
Manger scene by Nancy Harlacher
"And it came to pass, when the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, let us now go, even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord has made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
"And when they had seen, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. All they who heard it, wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds; but Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
"And the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things which they had heard and seen, as they were manifested unto them" (Luke 2:1–20).
"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, where is the child that is born, the Messiah of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him.
"When Herod the king had heard of the child, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests, and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them, saying, where is the place that is written of by the prophets, in which Christ should be born? For he greatly feared, yet he believed not the prophets.
"And they said unto him, it is witten by the prophets, that he should be born in Bethlehem of Judea, for thus have they said, the word of the Lord came unto us, saying, and thou Bethlehem, which lieth in the land of Judea, in thee shall be born a prince, which art not the least among the princes of Judea; for out of thee shall come the Messiah who shall save my people Israel.
"Then Herod, when he had called the wise men privily, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found the child, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
"When they had heard the king, they departed; and lo, the star which they saw in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child, with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshiped him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
"And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
"And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord, appeared to Joseph in a vision, saying, arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and tarry thou there until I bring thee word; for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
"And then he arose, and took the young child, and the child’s mother, by night, and departed into Egypt; and was there until the death Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord, by the prophet, saying, out of Egypt have I called my Son" (Matthew 3:1–15).
Prints of the above painting, The Angels and the Shepards by Nancy Harlacher, are available in various sizes for purchase at the Restoration Bookstore or from our online store.