Merry Christmas everyone!
I think for us all, this season has felt a little different than it usually does. Despite it all, I hope you are still able to spend this incredibly special day surrounded by the ones you love.
If you haven’t heard the true Christmas story before, straight from the Bible, I wanted to bring it to you. We’ve spent these past three weeks reading through and studying the Gospel of John and I couldn’t think of a better way to prepare our hearts for Christmas. Jesus’ birth story is miraculous and heart-warming, but the only reason it means anything to us, over 2000 years later, is because of who Jesus proves himself to be and what he does for us.
Jesus was sent as the Savior of the world. Every single one of us, being sinful in nature, were indebted to our sins. Romans 6:23 says that the “wages of sin is death”; that’s the price that every one of us would’ve had to pay. But Jesus.
Jesus came to save us from our sin and prevent us from death. He paid our price and willingly died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for every single one of us. Romans 6:10 says that he died “once and for all”, so that every person who choses to believe in Jesus and receive him as their Savior would have eternal life through him (John 3:16).
This is why we celebrate the birth of a baby from a little town in Israel.
The verses below were taken directly out of the book of Luke in the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. My own input will be scattered throughout in blue. Here we go!
The Birth Story of Our Savior
The Birth of Jesus Foretold (Luke 1)
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Just for context, Elizabeth was Mary’s cousin, and was pregnant with John the Baptist. John who will go on to preach and prepare people for the coming Messiah, Jesus.
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
The Birth of Jesus (Luke 2)
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Matthew 1 and 2 also walk us through this story, told by a different author and a different perspective. There are definitely pieces of both that I find important to the overall story.
It’s incredible to me that God had Jesus come to Earth in the most humble way. Yet even still, he revealed his glory within this child in a manger to men who would receive the truth of who he was and honor him.
I’m worshipping that baby in a manger right alongside those shepherds today. I hope you are as well.
God bless, and I’ll see you after the Holidays!