It was during the time when Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken of all those who inhabited the Empire; it was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.

Everyone had to go back to their own city and register for the census so Joseph, who was from the was living in Galilee in the small city of Nazareth, had to go back to province of Judea to Bethlehem, which is the city of David—who was his family—in order to register along with Mary, his pregnant fiancée.

While they were there she came to term and gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

It was in this same area that some shepherds who were out in the fields and watching their flock by night were surprised and horrendously frightened by the sudden appearance of an angel of the Lord, shining in glory and brightness.

“Don’t be afraid” the angel said to them “For I bring you good news of great joy which will be for everyone; today, in the city of David, there has been born for all of you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Then suddenly there appeared a multitude of heavenly beings praising God and saying “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom God is pleased!”

After the angels had disappeared, the shepherds quickly decided what they had to do: “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has revealed to us.”

So they came in a hurry and found their way to Bethlehem, to a stable outside of an inn, and found Mary and Joseph and the baby who was lying in the manger—the very sign they were told to look for. When they saw this they related the story to the parents and all those nearby who were all perplexed and astounded by the story the shepherds told them.

And although Mary kept these things in her heart and thought about them for many years, that evening the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God aloud for all that they had heard and seen, just as they had been told by God.