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The birth of Jesus happened like this.
Zacharias was performing his priestly functions, when an angel of the Lord appeared on the right side of the incense-altar. When Zacharias saw him, the angel spoke to him,
“Do not be afraid, Zacharias; your prayers have been heard. Elisabeth your wife will bear you a son, and you are to call him John and he will make a people fully ready for their Lord.”
But Zacharias replied to the angel, “How can I know that this is true? “I am Gabriel,” the angel answered. “I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and tell you this good news.
Then, six months after Zacharias’ vision, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a Galilean town, Nazareth by name, to a young woman who was engaged to a man called Joseph.
The girl’s name was Mary. The angel entered her room and said, “Greetings to you, Mary. O favored one! – The Lord be with you!” But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; God loves you dearly. You are going to be the mother of a son, and you will call him Jesus. He will be great and will be known as the Son of the most high. The Lord God will give him the throne of his forefather, David, and he will be king over the people of Jacob forever. His reign shall never end.”
Then Mary spoke to the angel, “How can this be,” she said, “I am not married!” But the angel made this reply to her – “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the most high will overshadow you. Your child will therefore be called holy – the Son of God. Your cousin Elisabeth has also conceived a son.
With little delay Mary got ready and hurried off to the hillside town in Judea where Zacharias and Elisabeth lived. She went into their house and greeted her cousin. When Elisabeth heard her greeting, the unborn child stirred inside her and she herself was filled with the Holy Spirit, and cried out, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is your child! What an honor it is to have the mother of my Lord come to see me! Why, as soon as your greeting reached my ears, the child within me jumped for joy!
Then Mary said, “My heart is overflowing with praise of my Lord, my soul is full of joy in God my Savior. The one who can do all things has done great things for me – oh, holy is his Name!
Mary was engaged to Joseph, just before their marriage, she was discovered to be pregnant.
Joseph (her future husband) was a good man and did not want to see her disgraced. He planned to break off the engagement quietly. While he was turning the matter over in his mind an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife! What she has conceived is conceived through the Holy Spirit, and she will give birth to a son, whom you will call Jesus.
When Joseph woke up he did what the angel had told him.
Joseph married Mary. Mary gave birth to a son and they gave him the name Jesus.
The song “Mary Did You Know” (written by our friend Buddy Green) is the fulfillment of the message Gabriel delivered to Mary the night he visited her. I hope you can pause and listen as you reflect on the birth of our KING.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battlefield; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
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