Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

For the last several years, I've looked for a book that told the Christmas story in a way that my young daughters could understand. Not finding such a book, I decided to create the Ken translation describing the blessed event. It's drawn from the books of Luke and Matthew in several translations, as well as an online commentary.

I wish you a blessed Christmas full of the significance and glory of the season!


Mary was a teenage girl living in the country near the town of Nazareth. She was a smart girl, and wanted to do whatever God asked her to do.

Mary had promised to marry a young carpenter named Joseph, and they planned to have children after they got married.

One day, the angel Gabriel visited Mary. Gabriel said, "Hello, Mary! You are a special girl, and God loves you."

Mary was confused and scared by the angel, and she wondered why he was there. Gabriel said, "Don't be afraid! God is very happy with you and has a special surprise: he will soon place a baby inside you, and you will become the mother of a baby boy. His name will be Jesus, and he will be called the Son of God. He will be great, and God will make him king, just like King David. He will rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end."

Mary asked the angel, "How is it possible for me to have a baby? I’m not married!"

The angel answered, "God's power can do the impossible. The Holy Spirit will place this baby inside you. Nothing is impossible for God!"

Mary said, "I will do anything God asks me to do. I am ready for the blessing you have told me about." And the angel left her.

Joseph was about 20 years old. When he learned that Mary was going to have a baby, he decided to call off the wedding, because he knew he was not the father.

While Joseph was thinking about this, he fell asleep, and he dreamed about an angel. In the dream, the angel said, "Joseph, God put the baby inside Mary. God wants you to marry her. When the baby is born, you should name him Jesus. He will show his people how to get to Heaven."

About that time, the emperor ordered all the people to travel to their hometowns so the government could count them and list their names in record books. King David had lived in Bethlehem, so Joseph — who was related to David — had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be counted.

As Mary and Joseph planned to get married, Mary went with Joseph. It was a long three-day journey covering 90 miles, and was even harder because the baby inside Mary was almost ready to come out.

When they got to Bethlehem, the city was so full of people that they could not find a room at the local hotel and had to sleep with the animals in the barn. Shortly after they arrived, their baby was born, so Mary wrapped the baby’s arms and legs in cloth to keep him warm, and placed the baby in a box full of hay.

That night outside the city, some shepherds were guarding their sheep. Suddenly, an angel appeared, blinding them with a bright light. The shepherds were scared, but the angel said, "Don't be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. Just moments ago in Bethlehem, a Savior was born for you. He is God’s son. When you find a baby lying on a bed of hay, you will know you have found him."

Then, many other angels came down from heaven and joined together to praise God.

After the angels went back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Let's go into town and see if we can find this child." They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay.

The shepherds told Mary and Joseph what the angel had said. Everyone listened and was surprised, but Mary kept wondering what it meant.

As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they realized that everything happened just like the angel described, and they praised God, saying wonderful things about him.



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