Every year on Christmas Eve, my husband and I sit on the fireplace hearth and gather the family around as he reads from Luke 2.
It is a beloved and well-known story that has been passed down and shared throughout the generations. A story that was foretold, immensely anticipated, fulfilled prophecy, and yet, is still far from over!
The birth of our Lord Jesus Christ may be unconventional and rather orthodox, but it sheds light on a dark world — that there is a real source of hope, redemption, and true love.
Something that each and every one of us desires and craves to the depths of our souls. Hope. Redemption. Love.
As the Creator and Ruler of the universe, God could have just as easily brought His Son into this world with the wave of His majestic hand, summoning His angels to sing, declaring the world bow down and worship Him.
He could have silenced the mockers and brought swift justice to the spiteful king and rulers while coming into Judea with some elaborate fanfare.
But God’s plan was so much bigger than that! His plan had purpose and meaning, as all His plans simply do.
Isaiah 9:6 declares our Lord as being One of power and might, yet this “Prince of Peace” came to us in the depths of an animal trough, frail and helpless.
Friend, this humble birth was done for us! God knew we needed a Savior to intercede on our behalf.
He knew we needed to be met with an ordinary story that delivered such great power. The Christmas Story shows the character of our God and the nature of His heart.
He is a God of hope. A God of redemption. A God of unconditional and unfailing love.
The humble birth of our Savior has so many beautiful lessons tucked within it. Let’s discover a few of them together and get a better understanding of the true nature and wonder of our awesome God.
1. God Chooses the Meek, Mild, and Lowly at Heart
Jesus came from a long line of meek, mild, and desperately lost people. While it’s easy to glaze over the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17), seeing it a as just long list of names, the roadmap to Jesus’ birth is filled with humble roots.
Better yet, it gives us a clearer picture of how God chooses His people to do great work (1 Corinthians 1:27).
The ancestral line from Abraham all the way to the Messiah just goes to show how God uses flawed, lost, and hurting people to carry out a master plan.
Just take a look at David. A king who was known for being a “man after God’s own heart.” Yet he often bent to the ways of his flesh and sinful desires, committing murder and adultery.
We also can’t gloss over the women mentioned in the genealogy. Ruth and Rahab are two such women who are mentioned and have familiar stories that many of us may know.
While we often credit them for their loyalty and bravery, Ruth was an outcast and Rahab’s story is downright scandalous!
Yet, with each of these stories and names mentioned, we are reminded that God isn’t waiting on some “perfect person” to fulfill some great calling.
He uses the ordinary, somewhat simple, and the meek, mild, and lowly at heart to carry out a greater purpose. That means God can use us too!
2. God Delights in Those that Trust Him
Mary was a young woman, roughly around the age of 15, when Gabriel visited her and gave her the news of her pregnancy.
Can you imagine how intimidating (and scary) that must have been? While her initial reaction was of surprise and question, she willingly submitted to the call and said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let’ everything you’ve said happen to me” (Luke 1:38).
During that time, a woman could have been stoned to death for having a child in wedlock. Mary not only knew this, but she was among the oppressed and poor and despised by Roman society for her way of life and Jewish affiliation.
Yet, the news of her upcoming and miraculous birth, gave her hope as she fully trusted God and responded with a heart of surrender.
Mary was not only meek, mild, and humble-hearted, but she was bold and brave. We can hear the nature of her heart as she fully trusts the Lord and proudly proclaims that in her song found in Luke 1:46-56.
She is standing up for her God, while upsetting the current trends of the current culture at the time, maybe even doing so with a bit of rebellion (she was a teen after all).
But make no mistake about it — she fully trusted God with her whole heart. And that is exactly what God seeks from us!
3. God’s Timing Is Always Perfect
While there is much debate and controversy as to the exact day and time of Jesus’ actual birthday, most biblical scholars believe it was somewhere between 6 BC and 4 BC.
However, while we can easily get caught up and consumed as to whether the actual date is December 25, the better question to ask is, “Where is our focus this Christmas?”
The truth of the matter is that God’s timing (no matter when it precisely occurred) was in fact perfect! Galatians 4:4 tells us when the time had come, and God sent His son. As believers, we have hope that He will do that again because Jesus is coming back!
These are truths we must cling to when we enter a season of uncertainty. As we wait for the Lord to return, we must also take heart and know that God’s timing is perfect, and in time He will be exalted among all the nations (Psalm 46:10). Hallelujah!
4. God Is Moving in the Smallest Details
Have you ever seen a live nativity scene? Maybe one with precious little children and live animals. Well, every year, (for the last five years anyway) we have had the pleasure of attending one.
It’s a drive-thru experience where you pull up, they give you cocoa, and you drive by waving at the cute children dressed up as Bible characters.
Of course, they always have a donkey, sheep, and even a camel. Not sure where they get a camel, but it’s always there!
I got to talking to one of the teachers about the “behind the scenes” of that cherished event in our community and asked how they pulled it all off.
After all, the animals (and children) are always so well-behaved. She chuckled, and with a twinkle in her eye and tender smile added, “Well….God is always moving in the smallest of details.”
That is so true! Such a good reminder this time of year as well. When we rethink the Christmas story and get a glimpse into the smallest details in our own lives, it can really give us a great appreciation of the rich goodness of our God.
Dig into some of those minute details of the Christmas story this year along with those little details in your own life, then let God fill you with the wide-eyed wonder of His infinite love. Just so much to be thankful for my friend.
5. God Despises Pride, But Loves Humility
In a world where everyone is desperate to fit in and find their “own” place, yearning for a sense of belonging, it’s so easy to wind up in dreary and desolate places.
As we are striving to fit in, the end result can often leave us feeling overlooked, lost, lonely, and rejected by others.
While our soul craves to belong, we tend to search for our own ways to fill it up, leading to a prideful heart that God truly detests (Proverbs 16:5).
This is where God comes in. He has a soft heart for all of humanity. This is why the Christmas story speaks to each of us in such a unique and meaningful way. The Christmas story is a personal one that reminds us He humbled Himself for us, first (1 Peter 5:5).
Everything about this story is based on humility. It is wrapped in love as God says He will meet us in the most desolate of places because He has been there and knows what it’s like to be alone.
He says He will search out the lost, hurting, and abandoned, because He knows what it feels like to be mocked, shamed, and ridiculed.
But… God also says to come to Him, all who are weary and heavy laden, as He is gentle and humble in heart. He tells us that He is our source of peace, and rest, and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).
Beloved sons and daughters, God gave us the Christmas story to remind us that He is our source of life. He is our place of belonging. He is everything we need. If we merely pick up our cross and humbly come to Him (Matthew 16:24-26).
May your Christmas be filled with precious moments that remind You of God’s humble beginnings. As you humbly submit your heart to Him this year, believe and know, deep within your soul, that our God gave this story to offer you hope, redemption, and love.