Give me a one-word answer for this question! What makes Christmas such a special day?Did you say toys, or Santa, or candy, or lights?Oh, I'm sure one of you said, "Jesus!"
圣诞节这一天有什么特别的呢？我请你只用一个词来回答这个问题。你的答案是什么呢？玩具, 圣诞老人, 糖果, 圣诞灯火, 等等。但我相信一定有人会说：圣诞节之所以特别是因为耶稣。
Actually, the story of Christmas is made up of many special days! Let's hear about one of them! Almost 2, 000 years ago a young woman was going about her ordinary, every-day work. Her name was Mary and she lived in Nazareth, in the tiny country of Israel in the Middle East. Yes, perhaps for Mary it began as an ordinary day of washing, cooking, cleaning, bringing water from the well, when suddenly! Something happened that changed her ordinary day into a very special day!
实际上, 圣诞节的故事是由许多特别的日子组成的。这就是我今天要讲的故事。其中的一个故事是这样的。大约2000年前, 在中东以色列这个地方有一个小小的城镇叫拿撒勒, 这里住著一位年轻的女子, 她的名字叫马利亚。这一天, 就象往常一样, 马利亚正忙著做事, 洗衣服, 做饭, 收拾屋子, 去到井边打水。突然, 发生了一件意想不到的事, 把这个平凡的日子变成了一个特别的日子。
An angel from heaven suddenly appeared to Mary! How would you feel if an angel just suddenly appeared in your room! Mary was afraid and confused; but the angel said, "Fear not, Mary：for you have found favor with God." The angel went on to tell Mary that she would have a son and must call his name Jesus."He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest," the angel said, "...and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
有一个天使突然出现在马利亚面前。如果有一个天使突然出现在你屋里, 你会怎样呢？马利亚吓了一跳, 不知怎么办才好。天使对她说："马利亚, 不要怕, 你在神面前已经蒙恩了。" 天使告诉她将要怀孕生一个儿子, 可以给他起名叫耶稣。天使说："他要伟大, 称为至高者的儿子...他的国也没有穷尽。"
Mary had a question："How shall this be?" She knew she did not have a husband yet, and Mary knew she was going to keep herself pure until she had a husband. So then, how could she have a baby without a husband?The angel explained that this baby would not come from a man, this baby would be the Son of God. Mary then said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord," Mary was saying, "I am the servant of the Lord, let all that God has said happen."
马利亚这时有一个问题, 她对天使说："怎么有这事呢？" 马利亚想, 我还没有出嫁, 怎么有这事呢？没有丈夫, 怎么会有孩子呢？天使回答说, 这个孩子不是从人生的, 所要生的是神的儿子。马利亚说："我是主的使女, 情愿照你的话成就在我身上。"
The angel left, and everything again looked like an ordinary day. But Mary knew it wasn't! Her life was changed forever!
天使就离开了她。一切又恢复了往日的平静。但马利亚知道, 一切都不一样了, 她的生活已经完全改变了。
Mary was soon to marry Joseph, a carpenter in Nazareth. It was a very special day for Joseph when an angel appeared to him in a dream："Joseph, son of David, don't be afraid to take Mary for your wife. This baby she is going to have is from the Holy Spirit. And Mary will have a son and you will call his name Jesus：for he shall save his people from their sins." Mary was Jewish, and so Jesus would be born into the Jewish race. The angel said Jesus would save his people from their sins.
马利亚很快就要与拿撒勒的一个木匠约瑟结婚。天使在梦中向约瑟显现的这一天又成了一个特别的日子。天使说："大卫的子孙约瑟, 不要怕, 只管娶过你的妻子马利亚来, 因她所怀的孕, 是从圣灵来的。她将要生一个儿子, 你要给他起名叫耶稣, 因他要将自己的百姓从罪恶里救出来。" 马利亚是犹太人, 所以耶稣是生在一个犹太人的家里。天使说耶稣要将自己的百姓从罪恶里救出来。
Did that mean Jesus would only save the Jewish people from their sins?What is sin?Even very young children know sin is doing bad things that God doesn't like, like being greedy and wanting the biggest and best things for yourself. Sin is saying those mean, hateful words to your brother or sister; or disobeying your parents. Do only Jewish people sin?No, we know we have all sinned, and the Bible tells us that as well. Isaiah 53：6 says, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way." Do just Jewish people need to be saved from their sin?No! We all face the same punishment for sin and that is to be separated from God forever. So we all need a Savior! And that is why God sent Jesus, not just to be a Savior for the Jewish people, but all people.
小朋友也许会问, 这是说耶稣只将犹太人从罪恶里救出来吗？那什么是罪呢？连最小的孩子都知道, 罪就是神不喜悦的坏事情, 比如贪心, 自私, 自己总是要得到最好的。罪还包括说话伤害别人, 不听父母的话, 等等。只有犹太人才会犯罪吗？不是！我们知道我们都犯了罪, 圣经里也是这样告诉我们的。以赛亚书53章6节说："我们都如羊走迷, 各人偏行己路。" 只有犹太人需要被从罪中拯救出来吗？不是！我们每一个人都要面对那对罪的惩罚, 那就是永远与神分离。所以, 我们都需要一位救主!这就是为什么神让耶稣来到这世上, 不仅仅要拯救犹太人, 他还要拯救这世上所有的人。
Joseph woke from his dream, and he believed God's Word spoken through the angel.His ordinary day was changed forever! He married Mary and they both prepared for the day God's Son would be born.
约瑟从梦中醒了, 他相信神通过天使对他说的话。他平凡的生活被永远改变了。他就遵著主使者的吩咐, 把马利亚娶过来, 他们一起准备著神儿子的降生。
It was nearing the time for the baby to be born when another ordinary day became a very special one! Perhaps it was Joseph who told Mary, "We must travel to Bethlehem."
就在耶稣快出生之前, 又有一个平凡的日子成为了特别的日子。也许, 是约瑟对马利亚说的, 我们要去伯利恒。
In those days the Roman ruler, Caesar Augustus, had sent out a decree that all the world should be taxed, or registered, and each must travel to the city of their family line. Joseph and Mary were from the family of King David, and so they must travel to Bethlehem.They began the 4-5 day journey over rough, hilly roads. Perhaps because they had to travel slowly, the inn in Bethlehem was already filled when they arrived. Their only possibility for a place to spend the night was the stable. No matter that Mary and Joseph were tired and weary, no matter that it was a stable made for animals, this was the night and this was the place God had chosen before the creation of the world for His Son to be born! It was the very first Christmas! Do you think there was a Christmas tree with decorations and lights, or beautifully wrapped presents like we have in America at Christmastime?No. In fact, probably no one knew except Mary and Joseph that this was the first Christmas. Of course God in Heaven knew, and the angels. And very soon some shepherds would know!
在那个时候, 罗马的统治者该撒亚古士督宣布了新的收税制度, 叫天下的人都在自己的城里报名上册。因为 约瑟和马利亚是大卫一族一家的人, 因此他们需要去伯利恒报名上册。去伯利恒需要四五天的时间, 路也不好走, 尽是山路。但他们还是上路了。也许他们走得慢, 当他们到达伯利恒的时候, 客店全满了。他们唯一能过夜的地方就是客店的马槽。虽然约瑟和马利亚非常累, 虽然马槽是牲畜住的地方, 但是神选择了那个晚上, 那个客店的马槽做为神儿子出生的地方。那就是第一个圣诞节。那里会不会象我们这里的圣诞节, 有装饰得漂漂亮亮的圣诞树, 灯火, 礼物呢？没有!实际上, 除了约瑟和马利亚, 甚至没有人知道那就是第一个圣诞节。当然, 我们在天上的神知道, 天使知道。很快, 一些牧羊人也知道了。
Luke 2 says, "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them：and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not；for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."
路加福音第二章里说："在伯利恒之野地里有牧羊的人, 夜间按著更次看守羊群。有主的使者站在他们旁边, 主的荣光四面照着他们, 牧羊的人就甚惧怕。那天使对他们说, 不要惧怕, 我报给你们大喜的信息, 是关乎万民的。因今天在大卫的城里, 为你们生了救主, 就是主基督。"