Malankara World

Christmas - The Birthday of Jesus

Devotional: The Truth of the Nativity

by John MacArthur, Jr., Grace to You

The story of the first Christmas is so beloved that singers and storytellers across the centuries have embellished and elaborated and mythologized the story in celebration. However, most people now don't know which details are biblical and which are fabricated. People usually imagine the manger scene with snow, singing angels, many worshipers, and a little drummer boy. None of that is found in the biblical account.

Christmas has become the product of an odd mixture of pagan ideas, superstition, fanciful legends, and plain ignorance. Add to that the commercialization of Christmas by marketers and the politicization of Christmas in the culture wars, and you're left with one big mess. Let's try to sort it out. The place to begin is in God's Word, the Bible. Here we find not only the source of the original account of Christmas, but also God's commentary on it.

We can't know Jesus if we don't understand He is real. The story of His birth is no allegory. We dare not romanticize it or settle for a fanciful legend that renders the whole story meaningless. Mary and Joseph were real people. Their dilemma on finding no room at the inn surely was as frightening for them as it would be for you or me. The manger in which Mary laid Jesus must have reeked of animal smells. So did the shepherds, in all probability. That first Christmas was anything but picturesque.

But that makes it all the more wondrous. That baby in the manger is God! Immanuel!

That's the heart and soul of the Christmas message. There weren't many worshipers around the original manger - only a handful of shepherds. But one day every knee will bow before Him, and every tongue will confess He is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11). Those who doubt Him, those who are His enemies, those who merely ignore Him - all will one day bow, too, even if it be in judgment.

How much better to honor Him now with the worship He deserves! That's what Christmas ought to inspire.

Unvarnished Truth

Luke 2:7 sets the scene: "[Mary] gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

That verse is explicitly concerned with a lonely birth. There were no midwives, no assistance to Mary at all. The Bible doesn't even mention that Joseph was present. Perhaps he was, but if he was typical of first-time fathers, he would have been of little help to Mary. She was basically on her own.

Source: OneVoice Devotional

See Also:

A Worshipping Christmas
This Christmas, and every Christmas, we need to be reminded that Christ is the greatest gift and worship is the only proper response. After all, worship was the response of every actor in the very first Christmas drama.

From One Father to Another by Max Lucado
Dramatization of the thoughts of Joseph at Bethlehem - conversation/prayer with God.

The Essential Message of Christmas by Greg Laurie
We need to remember the essential message of Christmas, which is Immanuel—God is with us. And for the hurting person, the lonely person, the sorrowing person, this is the time of year to bring the gift of encouragement to them and say, "The message of Christmas is: God will be with you. God will help you. God will strengthen you."

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