My Dear Children,
I am very anxious that you should know something about the History
of Jesus Christ. For everybody ought to know about Him. No one ever
lived, who was so good, so kind, so gentle, and so sorry for all people
who did wrong, or were in anyway ill or miserable, as he was. And as he
is now in Heaven, where we hope to go, and all to meet each other after
we are dead, and there be happy always together, you never can think
what a good place Heaven is, without knowing who he was and what he did.
He was born, a long long time ago–nearly Two Thousand years
ago–at a place called Bethlehem. His father and mother lived in a city
called Nazareth, but they were forced, by business to travel to
Bethlehem. His father’s name was Joseph, and his mother’s
name was Mary. And the town being very full of people, also brought
there by business, there was no room for Joseph and Mary in the Inn or
in any house; so they went into a Stable to lodge, and in this stable
Jesus Christ was born. There was no cradle or anything of that kind
there, so Mary laid her pretty little boy in what is called the Manger,
which is the place the horses eat out of. And there he fell asleep.
While he was asleep, some Shepherds who were watching Sheep in the
Fields, saw an Angel from God, all light and beautiful, come moving over
the grass towards Them. At first they were afraid and fell down and hid
their faces. But it said “There is a child born to-day in the City
of Bethlehem near here, who will grow up to be so good that God will
love him as his own son; and he will teach men to love one another, and
not to quarrel and hurt one another; and his name will be Jesus Christ;
and people will put that name in their prayers, because they will know
God loves it, and will know that they should love it too.” And
then the Angel told the Shepherds to go to that Stable, and look at that
little child in the Manger. Which they did; and they kneeled down by it
in its sleep, and said “God bless this child!”
Now the great place of all that country was Jerusalem–just as
London is the great place in England–and at Jerusalem the King lived,
whose name was King Herod. Some wise men came one day, from a country a
long way off in the East, and said to the King “We have seen a Star
in the Sky, which teaches us to know that a child is born in Bethlehem
who will live to be a man whom all people will love.” When King
Herod heard this, he was jealous, for he was a wicked man. But he
pretended not to be, and said to the wise men, “Whereabouts is this
child?” And the wise men said “We don’t know. But we
think the Star will shew us; for the Star has been moving on before us,
all the way here.” Then Herod ordered them, if they found the
child, to come back to him. So they went out, and the Star went on
until it stopped over the house where the child was. This was very
wonderful, but God ordered it to be so.
The wise men went in, and saw the child with Mary his Mother. They
loved him very much, and gave him some presents. Then they went away.
But they did not go back to King Herod; for they thought he was jealous,
though he had not said so. And an Angel came, and told Joseph and Mary
to take the child into a Country called Egypt, or Herod would kill him.
So they escaped too, in the night.
But when this cruel Herod found that the wise men did not come back
to him, and that he could not, therefore, find out where this child,
Jesus Christ, lived, he called his soldiers and captains to him, and
told them to go and Kill all the children in his dominions that were not
more than two years old. The soldiers with their swords killed all the
children they could find. This murder was called the Murder of the
Innocents. Because the little children were so innocent.
King Herod hoped that Jesus Christ was one of them. But He was
not, as you know, for He had escaped safely into Egypt. And he lived
there, with his father and mother, until Bad King Herod died.