A good story captivates us. It draws us in to other places and times, allowing us to walk in someone else’s shoes for a little while. Generation after generation passes stories down the line, eager to share the ideas that formed them or the circumstances that impacted them. And the most captivating story ever told? It really happened. And is happening. And each of us gets to be a part of it.
It’s God’s story, really. He’s the author, the main character, the hero. His story is perfect, overflowing with mercy in response to constant betrayal by His own creation. It’s what makes His story so beautiful, so compelling. So miraculous.
It’s hard to believe that in less than a week, we’ll be celebrating Christ’s birth. We’ve spent all month preparing for it. We’ve counted down the weeks with advent candles at church and the days with advent calendars at home. And our excitement isn’t without cause. The first Christmas is one of the biggest climaxes in God’s story arc.
Luke 2 dives right into the conflict: the reigning tyrannical empire imposes a tax on the subservient nation. All the Jews return to their hometowns for a census so they can’t escape handing their hard-earned money over to Caesar. Enter Mary and Joseph, the young couple who, despite expecting a very special baby any day now, don’t get even a temporary reprieve from obeying Rome.
Bad news awaits Mary and Joseph after the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem: no room in the inn. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, Mary has gone into labor. So, she and Joseph join the animals in the stable and Mary gives birth to God incarnate. The thousands of years of waiting for the Messiah has ended, but a new chapter is beginning.
The shepherds are the first to hear the “good tidings of great joy” – from angels, no less! They rush to worship their King, then tell everyone they see the good news. Which brings us back around to our part in God’s captivating story of salvation. As we worship our Savior this Christmas, let’s take the opportunity to tell everyone we can our “good tidings of great joy.”
There’s one little sentence that seems to get overlooked each time the Christmas story is read. “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). In the midst of all our excitement, let’s take a break to ponder and treasure our Christmas miracle: the gift God has given to us in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Family Radio Staff