The real story of Christmas
Every year, we can get so caught up in the present buying, the family gatherings, and the twinkling lights that we forget the real story of Christmas. To fully appreciate the story of Christmas, we must look at three things: 1) Who God called to tell the story. The answer is shepherds. In first-century Palestine they were considered to be the lowest in society. Yet God picked them to tell the greatest story. Perhaps that’s because some of us would have debated the story or even denied it. Not them: ‘They spread the word’ (v.17 NIV). Sometimes we can doubt whether God would use us. He can use anyone, whatever their ability and whatever their past. We just need to tell people what we’ve seen and heard, and the change Jesus has made in our lives. 2) The response of those who heard the story. ‘All who heard it were amazed.’ The grace of God is amazing: ‘God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation’ (2 Corinthians 5:19 NIV). The gospel is good news. Our sins have been forgiven and now we can have a personal relationship with God by putting our trust in Jesus. 3) Mary’s part in the story. ‘Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart’ (Luke 2:19 NIV). She wanted to understand what God was doing, and how it related to her. And we need to do that too. God doesn’t change, but He moves, and we have to stay in step with Him. There were many things Mary didn’t understand about God’s will, but she accepted and obeyed it. And that’s what God is asking of us too.
Take some time to re-read the Christmas story today. Ask God to help you remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas.