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When Jesus was still just a tiny baby, Mary and Joseph took him to Jerusalem to the temple. In the temple they sacrificed two turtle doves or two young pigeons. They did this because Jesus was Mary's first baby and he was a boy.
That day God brought a man named Simeon to the temple. God had promised Simeon that before he died he could see Jesus. Simeon knew that Jesus was the Savior. He took baby Jesus in his arms and thanked God for sending him. Simeon knew that God had let Jesus be born so that all the people of the world might be saved.
There was also an old woman who lived in the temple serving God. Her name was Anna. She also thanked God for baby Jesus. Joseph and Mary remembered Simeon and Anna and all the things they said about Jesus.
Now Herod was the king in Jerusalem and he was a very wicked and cruel man. One day some men came to see him. They had been following a star that God had set in the sky to lead them to Jesus. The wise men didn't know exactly where to look and they thought that surely, the king in Jerusalem would know where Jesus was. Jesus was the Messiah of the Jews.
But Herod didn't know where Jesus was. Herod didn't believe that God would send a savior but he was still worried. Maybe the baby would be the new king! Herod was king and he would not let anybody else be king in his place!
So Herod asked the scribes and priests, "Where do the prophets say that Christ will be born?"
And they told him, "The prophets say Christ will be born in Bethlehem."
Herod went back to the wise men and asked them when they had first seen the star. Then he told them to go to Bethlehem. Herod thought he could get rid of Jesus. He said to the wise men, "When you have found the child come back and tell me. I would like to worship him too." Herod really wanted to find Jesus to kill him.
The wise men went to Bethlehem and there the star stood right over the place where Jesus was. They gave Jesus expensive presents, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Jesus was a king and they gave him presents fit for a king.
After the wise men had seen and worshipped Jesus God told them in a dream not to go back to see Herod. He warned them to go back home another way.
Not only were the wise men to go home a different way but an angel also came to Joseph to warn him. The angel told Joseph to get up and take Mary and Jesus to Egypt as quickly as possible. "Herod will try to kill Jesus. Stay in Egypt until I tell you it is safe to come home."
So Joseph and Mary and Jesus left for Egypt that very night. Jesus was safe.
Meanwhile, Herod was waiting for the wise men to come back. He waited and waited. Finally he knew that they were not coming. Oh, he was angry! How dare they?!
The wise men had followed the star for almost two years, so Herod ordered all the babies up to two years old to be killed in Bethlehem. That way he thought for sure he would be rid of Jesus. All the mothers cried and cried because their babies were dead.
Finally old Herod died. Now it was safe for Jesus to come home. The angel went and told Joseph that Herod was dead. So Joseph, Mary and Jesus went to live in Nazareth which was Joseph and Mary's home town.
Joseph opened his carpenter shop in Nazareth and Jesus learned to be a carpenter.
Every year Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem for the Passover. The Passover was the celebration of the time when God freed the House of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Moses led the Children of Israel and every year they celebrated this holiday.
When Jesus was twelve he went to Jerusalem with his parents. When it was time to go back home many people left together. Mary and Joseph thought Jesus was with his friends who were going home. But for a whole day they didn't see Jesus and they could not find him. They began to get worried and went back to Jerusalem to look for Jesus. They looked for Jesus for three days. It must have been terrible for them. Maybe they would never find him. Maybe he was sick or hurt. Maybe he was kidnapped or even dead!
Finally they went to the temple and there was Jesus! He was talking with the men who knew the scriptures and the law and they were asking Jesus questions. The men were very surprised that a twelve-year-old boy could be so smart. They didn't know that Jesus was God's Son.
When Mary and Joseph saw Jesus they were amazed to see him there. Mary said to him, "Jesus, don't you know we were worried and afraid for you? We looked and looked for you and couldn't find you."
Jesus said to his parents, "Why did you look for me? Didn't you know that I must be about my Father's business?"
Mary and Joseph didn't understand what Jesus was saying. Joseph's business was to be a carpenter. But Jesus was talking about his Heavenly Father.
Mary remembered what Jesus said and thought about it many times.
It wasn't time yet for Jesus to leave his parents and preach to the people. He was only twelve years old. So he went home with his parents and worked in the carpenter shop and grew up to be a wise and strong man who people liked and respected.
adapted by Lois M. Anderson
from Matthew 3:1-25
and Luke 2:21-52 Inspired Version
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Copyright 2001 Lois M. Anderson: All Rights Reserved
Last revised: August 24, 2001