Matthew 1:18–25; 2:13–23, and Mark 6:1–6.

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Recite the Lord’s Prayer.

1.         Joseph, of the line of David, as is Mary, a carpenter by trade and a thoughtful and respectful man, meets young Mary while on a contract deal in Nazareth of Galilee. They become legally betrothed to be married.

2.         Joseph discovers that his wife to be is pregnant, so likely at least 5 months along. He is badly shaken and decides to divorce her quietly, thus protecting both Mary and himself.

3.         God intervenes and fills Joseph in as to the actual events, which focus on the fact that the son to be born to Mary is the One who will bring salvation to “his” people.

4.         After the birth of Jesus, Joseph is warned to take Mary and the child and flee to Egypt because Herod is seeking to destroy the child, having been alerted by the three “Wise Men.” Egypt is 90 miles or more to the south of Bethlehem, where the family remained until Herod’s death, which was in 4 BCE. Yes, Jesus was likely born in 6 BCE not 0 CE.

5.         Herod, fearful that a powerful rival is in his domain, has children 2 years old and younger killed in the Bethlehem area. Estimates are that perhaps as many as 50 children were murdered on Herod’s orders.

6.         Joseph and family return to Israel, but upon arrival find that Herod’s ruthless son Archelaus is ruling Judea. Once again Joseph is warned in a dream of this danger, and flees north to Galilee, to a no-account city called Nazareth.

7.         Jesus will later be known as a “Nazarene”, which was a derogatory title. Note: John the Baptist took a “Nazarite” vow, meaning a person who lived an austere and spiritual lifestyle, which is different from being a “Nazarene.”

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