Many of us have grown up listening and reading the Christmas story right from Sunday School. But there is so much to discover and learn from the humble birth of Jesus Christ, the king of kings.
Let us see how this story unfolds in these 6 lessons hidden in the Christmas story:
1. God is ready to forgive all our sins
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1-2).
Right through the story of Christmas, there is a strong message of “God and sinners reconciled”. David was a man after God’s own heart, yet he committed adultery, it speaks of our Father’s abundant mercy! Jesus Christ came from David’s bloodline, one which had human frailty.
But Christ’s ancestor was pure and holy and this is the real ministry of reconciliation when God sent Emmanuel to “save His people from their sins”; no matter who we are, or what we’ve done.
2. Christ is our Shepherd
“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, goodwill toward men!'” (Luke 2:13-14).
Shepherds were considered too lowly at that time and age and even today in our society but to God, they are important as evident in Ezekiel 34:15, “’I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,’ says the Lord God”, among the many passages in the Old Testament which refer to Christ as our Shepherd. Christ came to bestow peace, but also to lead us.
3. God does the impossible
“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. and His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation’” (Luke 1:46-50).
Mary and Elizabeth both experienced miracles as God had honored their faithfulness by granting them pregnancies. One was an old woman of 80 years and the other a virgin.
As the angel said to Mary, “For nothing shall be impossible with God”.
4. God makes a way
“So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:6-7).
We forget the conditions of Jesus’ birth, about how much of difficulty the expectant mom might have faced. She couldn’t even have a decent room to give birth. God used an unwed teenage girl, to deliver His Christmas gift and made a way, in His time.
5. God gives us His peace
“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
Mary must have been amused by the shepherds rushing in and out, the wise men giving her gifts for the baby and the angel’s words to her. “Blessed are you among women”, “Son of God”, and “Nothing shall be impossible with God” were now fulfilled. With all the chaos around her, Mary had the peace of God inside her as she experienced the God of the impossible.
6. God is in control
“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born” (Matthew 2:3-4).
Herod was going crazy when he heard of the birth of a future King of Israel. God allowed the wise men to go straight to this pompous king searching for the Real King. It was God who put that star in the sky that pointed the wise men to Bethlehem.
“Surely the king would know! He could tell them where the child-king was!” So they thought. Instead, he wanted to find the child and destroy him. There are so many twists and turns in this story of Christmas, but God’s hand overrules everything.
Today our world is also the same, chaotic as in Herod’s day. We all worry about the future, but if we trust God who is in control, we will find peace in the Prince of Peace. Hallelujah!