The Story of Christmas

Two thousand years ago a miracle happened in the ancient land of Judea. This is the story of a husband and a wife. It becomes the story of a mother and a child. But from the beginning, it was always a story of a Father and a Son.

The City of David

Luke 2:1-5

Bethlehem was a small town, but it probably did not feel that way to Joseph and his new wife, Mary, as they entered the village. This night, every corner of Bethlehem was thronged with travelers from destinations far and wide, all responding to Emperor Caesar Augustus’s decree that a census be taken of his vast empire. All of his subjects were required to report to their ancestral hometowns and be counted.

Joseph and Mary were probably easy to overlook as they entered the village in the cooling evening air. They were hardly a grand procession—just two more in a crowd of thousands. Of course, a careful observer would have noticed they were soon to be three, for Mary was with child, and from the looks of it, would deliver soon.

In the days prior, the couple had made the 70-mile trek from their home in Nazareth. The long journey gave them plenty of time to be alone with their thoughts. And both of them, doubtless, had much to think about—for they understood that the child Mary carried was unlike any child who had ever been born.

But right now, the meaning of their incredible secret was overshadowed by more immediate concerns.

The Inn

Luke 2:6-7

Tonight, God’s infinite love would take shape and become so real that they could hold it in their arms.

When Joseph stepped through the doorway, the overwhelmed innkeeper was trying to keep up with an endless stream of guest demands. And now from among the commotion emerged this exhausted but insistent man asking for the impossible. The innkeeper meant to turn him away, tell him every room was double-, even triple-booked, but something in Joseph’s eyes stopped him. Without completely understanding why, he found himself leading the man and his expectant wife to the crude rock cavity that served as the inn’s stable.

To Mary and Joseph, the night so far must have felt chaotic. In fact, this moment had been planned from before the foundation of the earth. With every uncertain step they took, Mary and Joseph fulfilled prophecy. Tonight, God’s infinite love would take shape and become so real that they could hold it in their arms.

The Field

Luke 2:8-12

As Mary and Joseph prepared for the delivery of their baby, an angel descended from heaven and made his own journey to Bethlehem. He passed by the overcrowded village, instead pausing on the dark and lonely hills outside the city to deliver a simple message of love and hope. To the humble shepherds, the angel spoke of He who would be shepherd to us all, saying, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

The Manger

Luke 2:16-19

This child was Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of the world.

By the time the first of the shepherds tentatively set foot inside the stable, Mary was cradling her newborn baby. Joseph gazed with love at the two of them. True, this son did not belong to him, or any earthly father. Instead, the child belonged to all mankind. But Joseph knew that included him, and that claim was enough.

As for Mary, much of what she felt that night the world will never know. She kept it in her heart, where no words were needed. This child was Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of the world. But right now, he was small, and the night air was cold. She was his mother, and she would hold him.

The East

Matthew 2:1-2, 11

That same night, in a land far from Bethlehem, holy men observed a new star in the sky. Somehow, they understood it meant that everything in the world was now changed. They gathered gifts worthy of a king and set off immediately for Jerusalem.

The First Gift

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

What the wise men brought Jesus is often referred to as the first gifts of Christmas. But in reality, the first gift of Christmas was given before they ever began their journey. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Can a gift given by a loving Heavenly Father over two thousand years ago still matter today? The answer is a heartfelt yes. Everything Jesus Christ did was for a brighter future for all of God’s children. Because of the first gift, redemption is real and death is not the end. Sadness is temporary and love is eternal. The stain of sin can be replaced by perfect forgiveness. As we embrace His teachings and follow the example of His perfect life, we can become more like Him, and experience true peace and joy. This Christmas season, let us remember that He is the gift.

Discover Why the Gift Was Given

Learn more about God’s greatest gift to humankind: His Only Begotten Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

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Learn How to Embrace the Gift

See how you can find lasting peace and joy by following the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.

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See How the Gift Is Relevant Today

View stories of modern-day followers of Jesus Christ as they share what The Gift means to them.

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