The life of Jesus is a message of hope and love. By his death and resurrection, he conquered sin and reconciled Man to God.
There are many beautiful accounts of the story of his birth and childhood. Starting with the visitation of Angel Gabriel to Mary and ending with the loss and finding of the young Jesus in the temple, these accounts of Jesus’ early life is truly fascinating.
- Angel Gabriel visits Mary: In Jerusalem, there lived a very virtuous woman named Mary, who found favour with God. One day, the Angel Gabriel visited her and informed her that she was to bear a child to be called as Jesus, who was the Son of God. Since she was still a virgin, this would be a miracle made to happen by the Holy Spirit. Mary bowed to the will of God and praised Him.
At that time, Mary was betrothed to a man named Joseph. When Joseph came to know that Mary was with child, he planned to secretly divorce her. But an angel appeared in his dream and told him not to abandon Mary as she was chosen by God to bear his Son. Joseph wakes up and obeys the angel. Joseph and Mary get married and wait for the birth of Jesus.
- Mary and Elizabeth: Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is with child despite her advanced age. When Mary ministers to her, Elizabeth feels her baby jumping for joy in Mary’s presence. This baby is none other than John the Baptist, who has an important role to play in the life of Jesus, much later. After three months, Mary returns home.
- Birth of Jesus at Bethlehem: Joseph and Mary undertake a trip to Bethlehem to register in the census ordered by Caesar Augustus as it is their native village. The village is crowded due to the census, and they cannot find lodgings anywhere. Then, Joseph and the heavily pregnant Mary take shelter in a stable or manger filled with animals. Here Mary gives birth to her beautiful baby, Jesus. She wraps him in swaddling clothes.
- The shepherds: Soon after the birth of Jesus, angels in festival gathering appear to a group of shepherds at night in Bethlehem. They sing praises of the newborn baby and ask the shepherds to seek his blessings. The amazed shepherds find the manger and offer their prayers to the newborn Jesus.
- The Magi: The birth of Jesus is also revealed to three wise men or Magi from the Far East. These learned kings travel a long way to Jerusalem seeking the baby Jesus. They approach ruler Herod and ask him about the whereabouts of the baby, who is destined to be the King of the Jews. Hearing this, Herod is perturbed and asks the Magi to lead him to the baby. The Magi are led by a star to the manger in Bethlehem where they worship baby Jesus and offer him the gifts of Gold, Myrrh and Frankincense. They are guided by an Angel not to return to Herod, and they return to their home by another route. Herod, who intended to kill the baby Jesus, flies into a rage and orders the killing of all Jewish infants below the age of two.
- Flight to Egypt: After the massacre of the infants, an angel warns Joseph and his family to flee to Egypt to escape from the hands of Herod. The family stays for some time in Egypt and return to Nazareth after the death of Herod.
- Nazareth: Nazareth is in Galilee, far from Jerusalem where the son of Herod now ruled. In Nazareth, the baby Jesus grows to be a fine young boy. He learns the craft of carpentry, assisting his father in his trade.
- Lost in the Temple: When Jesus became of twelve years, the family of Jesus travelled to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival of Passover, like they did every year. But this year, the family returned to Nazareth while Jesus, the boy stayed back in Jerusalem. In Nazareth, a frantic Mary and Joseph searched for their child and returned to Jerusalem searching him. They found the boy in the courts of the Temple of Jerusalem engaged in deep discussion with a few learned men. All are amazed by the wisdom and understanding of the young boy. When Jesus was chided by his parents, Jesus replied that he was only in his Father’s house. But they were not aware of what he really meant. Mary treasured all these things in her heart. He went back to Nazareth and was obedient to his parents. Here, he grew in wisdom and stature and in the favour of both men and God.
This is the story of Jesus from birth to childhood. There is a break in the account of his life from childhood to youth. Next, he emerges as the preacher and teacher, which he begins when he is thirty years old.