Keeping the Real Meaning of the Christmas Story
There are so many Bible lessons we can learn from the Christmas story. We have heard it so many times. The Christmas story is read in church every year, sometimes all throughout the month of December. We often hear the story read by parents or grandparents. We even hear the story at the end of Charlie Brown’s Christmas Story. When you have heard something so many times, it is easy to miss the significance. It is not just a story to enjoy, but a story of significant to our faith. Here are 10 spiritual lessons to learn from the Christmas story taken from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2.
1. God Has A Plan
The prophets had foretold that the Savior would be born in Bethlehem, but Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth. But at just the right time, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census be taken and everyone had to go to the town of their lineage to register. Clearly, we can see that God is in control and has a plan knowing what Caesar would do at just the right time when Mary would give birth to Jesus. His timing is perfect!
2. God Wants To Do Great Things Through Ordinary People
Mary and Joseph were nobody special in their context. They were young, inexperienced, and seemingly not ready for a life like many of us at that age. Nevertheless, Mary and Joseph were devoted to God and He chose them for an extraordinary miracle. We only need to be devoted to the Lord to be used by God to change the world around us.
3. The Journey Will Be Rough
We might think that God, the Father would give Mary an easy time of it. After all, she was carrying the Messiah, Savior of the World. But no, even Mary had to travel on an unlevel, bumpy, jostle-the-baby-around road while nine months pregnant. Does that sound fun Moms? I don’t think so, but that’s just me. Not only that, but it is cold. This year, Bethlehem weather ranges from 42 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrrrr. Wouldn’t we all rather have a smooth road in life, but God brings us through trials and tribulations to the right place at the right time for His miracles.
4. We Should Live In Expecation of Great Things
Mary and Joseph were expecting. Not only were they expecting a baby, but Immanuel, God with us, the Savior of the World. Israel had been waiting centuries for the Messiah to come and deliver them and finally, He was to be born. The Bible says if we are going to follow Christ, we must believe that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. We must live in expectation of great things.
5. We Must Keep Our Mind Focused on the Good
It would have been easy for Mary and Joseph to get down on themselves. The Lord has made clear this baby is the Messiah and they don’t even have a room, a bed? Did it feel as if everything was bad? Did they feel like failures? Despite the rocky road, the unpleasant trip, the lack of guest rooms, and giving birth in a stable, God with them. He is an ever-present help in trouble.
6. We Must Make the Best of Each Moment
Mary had no bed, no blanket, no rocking chair, no nursery, nothing. She had nothing that any Mom would want to have, but she made the best. She laid him in a manger, a feeding trough for the cows and horses. Sometimes, we miss the glorious things of God because we want or expect everything to be perfect. God is perfect and he shines in the midst of imperfection like a diamond lying on black felt. Don’t let the imperfections of life cause you to miss the perfection of God.
7. God is Always Worthy To Be Praised
The Shepherds watching their flock nearby suddenly see a host of Heavenly angels praising God. Jesus was a baby, a newborn. He had not yet spoken a word, healed a leper, or brought anyone back to life, yet He was worthy to be praised. Nothing had really changed at this point. The world was still the same as before Jesus was born, but change was coming. Jesus would change the world forever. Even when it seems like He is not doing anything, He is worthy to be praised. Even when it doesn’t seem like it, He is working all things together for our good and He is worthy to be praised.
8. When God Calls, Don't Procrastinate
When the angels left the shepherds, the Scripture says they ‘hurried’ to see this baby. When God called Abram to leave his home, he did not procrastinate but got up early in the morning. If God is calling you to do something, you can trust Him. Don’t let doubt, fear, and worry slow you down. Hurry to what he has called you to.
9. Matters of the Heart Are What Really Matters
After the shepherds left Mary and Joseph, the Scripture says Mary considered how these men arrived talking of singing angels in the sky about her baby and she treasured these things in her heart. In our current commercial Christmas season, it is not tangible, but the intangible that really matters. Whether you have enough money, can travel to see people, can’t get your kid what they want, it is the time spent with one another and with God. Our treasure cannot consist of Earthly things. Our treasure is found in faith, hope, and love.
10. Never Lose Hope
It was the prophet Micah who prophesied Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. He penned those words 700 years before Jesus was born. Israel never lost hope. They had been waiting for God to rescue them. Jesus was the hope of Israel. Hope is different from faith. Faith is to believe for something specific. Hope is simply to believe that God ‘can’ show up at any time. And that is what He did that day in Bethlehem. No matter what you may be facing this Christmas season, never lose hope that God could show up at any time and change everything. Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31).
Focus on the Meaning of Christmas
Make it a point to take a moment, pause and take a deep breath, to remember the real meaning of the Christmas story. There is so much to be learned from this wonderful narrative of the birth of Jesus Christ. Don’t take it for granted and don’t overlook these spiritual gems. Take time to share these Bible lessons with your family and friends. And whatever you do, have a Merry CHRISTmas!