"AND it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. . . . And all went to be taxed, every one into 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."

On arriving at Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary found the inn so crowded that they were obliged to turn aside, and lodge in a place where cattle were sometimes kept. It was in this place that the infant Jesus was born, the one who was to be the Saviour of the world. But He who rules all things took care that the advent of our divine Lord should not be wholly unhonored. Although men might be indifferent, all Heaven looked on with the deepest interest; and a part of the heavenly host were sent to earth to proclaim the birth of Jesus. Their visit is described by the pen of inspiration in these beautiful words: 

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And 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 Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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, good will toward men."

When the heavenly messengers had departed, the shepherds went to Bethlehem, and found all things just as the angel had told them. And they made known abroad what they had seen, and what the angel had said to them concerning Jesus. When the infant was eight days old, he was circumcised, according to the instruction, which the Lord had given Abraham.

"And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord, . . . and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 

And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." Simeon's testimony was confirmed by Anna, an aged prophetess, who, coming into the temple while Simeon was speaking, gave thanks likewise, and spake of Jesus to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.