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 Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.The passage above is the familiar one from the King James Bible. For comparison, here is the first text in English of the second chapter of Luke. The author was William Tyndale, may his name be a blessing. His translation was completed in 1525:
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And it chaunced in thoose dayes: yt ther went oute a comaundment from Auguste the Emperour that all the woorlde shuld be taxed.And because I've loved it for decades, here is the shape-note hymn Sherburne. Listen to the great [Real Player] version here: click on April 17, 2002 RealAudio. The song begins at 3 hrs 28 min, and yes, you can fast forward ;~)
2 And this taxynge was ye fyrst and executed when Syrenius was leftenaut in Syria.
3 And every man went vnto his awne citie to be taxed.
4 And Ioseph also ascended from Galile oute of a cite called Nazareth into Iurie: vnto ye cite of David which is called Bethleem because he was of the housse and linage of David
5 to be taxed with Mary his spoused wyfe which was with chylde.
6 And it fortuned whyll they were there her tyme was come that she shuld be delyvered.
7 And she brought forth her fyrst begotten sonne and wrapped him in swadlynge cloothes and layed him in a manger because ther was no roume for them within in the ynne.
8 And ther were in the same region shepherdes abydinge in the felde and watching their flocke by nyght.
9 And loo: the angell of ye lorde stode harde by the and the brightnes of ye lorde shone rounde aboute them and they were soare afrayed.
10 But the angell sayd vnto them: Be not afrayed. For beholde I bringe you tydinges of greate ioye yt shal come to all ye people:
11 for vnto you is borne this daye in the cite of David a saveoure which is Christ ye lorde.
12 And take this for a signe: ye hall fynde ye chylde swadled and layed in a mager.
13 And streight waye ther was with the angell a multitude of hevenly sowdiers laudynge God and sayinge:
14 Glory to God an hye and peace on the erth: and vnto men reioysynge.
15 And it fortuned assone as the angels were gone awaye fro them in to heven the shepherdes sayd one to another: let vs goo eve vnto Bethleem and se this thynge that is hapened which the Lorde hath shewed vnto vs.
16 And they cam with haste and founde Mary and Ioseph and the babe layde in a mager.
17 And when they had sene it they publisshed a brode the sayinge which was tolde them of that chylde.
18 And all that hearde it wondred at those thinges which were tolde the of the shepherdes.
19 But Mary kept all thoose sayinges and pondered them in hyr hert.
While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.
All glory be to God on high
And to the earth be peace,
Goodwill henceforth from heaven to men
Begin and never cease.
And to the earth be peace.