You hear it every year (at least I hope you do!). You might have called it “The Story of Baby Jesus” when you were younger. Then it became “The Nativity” as you grew older. Regardless of what you call it, the Christmas Story is still The Greatest Story Ever Told. And here are four reasons why it never gets old:
1. It Was All So Unexpected.
Who would’ve thought that the long-awaited Messiah – the Son of God who would come to save His people from their sin –would be born in a barn? And who could’ve guessed his parents would be relatively unknown in Nazareth, a place with a less than desirable reputation (John 1:45-46)? God didn’t bring His Son to earth in pomp and circumstance. Yet He did it precisely the way He had planned. It was so unthinkable, that practically a whole nation of Jewish people missed it.
What does that mean to us today? It reminds us that He is still the God of the Unexpected. You might be looking for Him to come through for you in a particular way and He might completely catch you off guard. But just like the Christmas story He knew from before the foundations of the world how and when He would come through for you, too. It’s alright if He’s not doing what you expect right now. The God of Miracles is still the God of the Unexpected…and the God of Surprises
2. It Was a Long Time Coming.
The promise of a Messiah was anticipated by the Jewish people for thousands of years. It was a promise that was a long time coming…but it came right on time. I imagine God’s people might have felt, at times, like God had forgotten His promise – during their slavery in Egypt, during their wanderings in the wilderness, and during years of darkness, injustice, and captivity. It was a long-awaited promise, indeed, that God would send a Messiah to deliver His people. But the Deliverer came – and in a way that many people missed because perhaps they had stopped looking. Are you tired of waiting on God for something you know He’s going to do, but He hasn’t yet done? Scripture tells us “For no matter how many promises
God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. …” (1 Corinthians 1:20). The Christmas story never gets old because it reminds us that God is faithful and fulfills His promises. And He is always right on time.
3. It Was About the Poor and Downtrodden.
I suppose what I love the most about the Christmas story is that it wasn’t centered around the Kardashians. Or the Royals. Or the Rich and Famous. The God of the Universe didn’t assign the Heavenly Hosts to announce His Son’s arrival to the dignitaries of the day, nor the celebrities, nor the religious elite. The Greatest Story Ever Told was first told to a group of lowly sheep-herders – the working class, a handful of hard-working, underpaid men who probably hadn’t bathed for days. Those guys – not the white-collared professionals – were invited to the baby shower in the barn to witness the miracle of God indwelling man. God still comes to the lowly, to the unfortunate, to those the rest of the world may have forgotten. And He still brings tidings of good news and great joy. He is not an exclusive God known only to the educated and astute. He is a God who extends first to the lowly and downtrodden.
4. It Still Rings with Hope.
Neither you nor I could’ve ever conceived of a gift as wonderful as grace. In a world in which we must work for everything we have, God crashed through and gave us something we could never earn or deserve (Ephesians 2:8-9). If God wanted to save the world, you’d think He would’ve come up with quite an obstacle for us to run through, quite a mark for us to hit, quite a ladder of achievement we could devote our lives to climbing. But instead, God thought up something so wondrous it is still, to many, hardly believable. He chose to come humbly in the form of a helpless babe so we can come humbly to Him, as well. There is nothing you and I could ever do to earn God’s unconditional love and the sacrifice of His Son for our sins. But that means there is nothing we could ever do to lose it, either. No wonder Jesus – and the grace He offers to those who surrender their lives to Him – is called the Greatest Gift of All. It is a story of hope to a world that would have otherwise been hopeless.
The next time you hear The Greatest Story Ever Told, listen to it as if for the first time. Because it never, ever gets old.