The Christmas story is a familiar story to many but it’s also a story which can present a few challenges. Some of these challenges will be mentioned along the way and maybe you will be able to find some others.
Most of all, reviewing the Christmas story should fill our hearts with praise as we again remember the gift of God’s redemption. The preacher, John Piper, says, “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him”
In the beginning
The beginning of John’s gospel starts with words about Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.”
Then, a bit further on, John tells us, “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
So the birth of Jesus isn’t about the start of Jesus because he has no beginning – he was there in the beginning as part of the Godhead. Christmas is about the incarnation of Christ – the word become flesh. A few years ago Rob wrote, that “it was mind blowing to see the picture of a newly formed baby and to consider that the creator of the universe chose to make himself as small as a full stop.” It is mind-
John the Baptist
In between the two bits that I have just quoted from John’s gospel we learn that, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.” (John 1:6-
And John the Baptist is a good starting point in our Christmas Storytrail. We are told in Luke’s gospel that the priest, Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth were without child and were really beyond the age of being able to produce one.
However, the angel Gabriel appeared before Zechariah and announced that they were to have a child, saying, “He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.” (Luke 1:16)
Zechariah was unbelieving, saying, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” (Luke 1:18)
Zechariah didn’t believe the angel and he was disciplined for his unbelief by being unable to speak until the baby was born. He was also told to name the baby John.