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The Christmas Story, cont'd

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    The Christmas Story

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Eight days later the baby was named Jesus.

The same night that the shepherds were visited by the angels, astronomers and magi in far off Persia saw a shining new comet that streaked across the sky to the west. They believed that it foretold the birth of a new king, and three of them, Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar decided to make the long journey west to see this new king. They reached Jerusalem, naturally went to the court of Herod the king, and asked, "Where is the new-born king of the Jews? We have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him." Herod was amazed and alarmed. His wife had not given birth to a baby, and any story of kings and Messiahs was worrying, because it threatened his position as king.

However, he was too smart a man to show his anxiety. He told the wise men, "He is not here, but if you find this child, be sure to let me know, so that I can worship him too."

The wise men went through the city, asking every one they came across about the birth of the Messiah, but no one seemed to know. And then one day, as their caravan camped on a hillside about six miles outside Jerusalem, they heard some shepherds talk about the wonders that they had seen: the shining light, the choir of angels and the baby in a manger. They asked the shepherds to show them the way to this stable, and soon they were kneeling before the tiny baby with the gifts that they had brought him - gold (a sign of his kingship), frankincense (to indicate his holiness) and myrrh (foretelling his death). Mary marveled at the sight of these great and wise men kneeling before her tiny baby in a humble stable, and wondered what God had in store for her son.

The wise men, having accomplished their mission, returned to their homeland, but they did not go back the way they had come. Having been warned in a dream that Herod intended the new-born King no good, they took another route. King Herod, after waiting in vain for the return of the mages, realized that they would not return, and in a fury ordered that all children under the age of two should be killed.

In a dream, an angel appeared to Joseph and warned him to take Mary and the baby to Egypt, and out of harm's way. And in the middle of the night, Mary wrapped the baby up warmly, sat on the donkey that Joseph had managed to find, and they left the town of Bethlehem. They stayed in Egypt, where they heard the terrifying news that every baby in Bethlehem had been killed on the orders of Herod. Only after they heard of Herod's death, did they feel secure enough to leave Egypt and return to Nazareth, where Jesus grew up in his father's house.

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fables   folktales   fairytales   myths   festival stories   tales from history   classics retold   science fiction and fantasy   stories behind great discoveries   tales behind nursery rhymes   puzzles   short stories by Rohini Chowdhury   blog archives from Around the Fireplace by Rohini Chowdhury   reviews of children's books   writers' biographies   other writings by Rohini Chowdhury   books by Rohini Chowdhury  

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Last updated: April 2010.
Story copyright © Serena Jacob 2003. Copyright © Rohini Chowdhury 2002. All rights reserved.

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