The greatest Christmas story ever told is found in the 66 books of the Bible. From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, the story of why we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The first Christmas changed the world forever and has the power to change the life of every one of us. May you know His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life this Christmas!
Jesus, Before Christmas
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1)
And the Word [Jesus Christ] was with God, and Jesus was God Himself. He was present originally with God. All things that were made came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that had come into being. In Him was life and the Life was the Light of men. (John 1:1-4)
And God said, “Let Us make mankind in our image and after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26)
Then He formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the spirit of life, and man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden toward the east of Eden and there He put the man whom He had formed. (Genesis 2:7-8)
And He commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree in the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
Then He caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam; and while he slept God took one of his ribs and closed up the place with flesh. And the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he built up and made into a woman. (Genesis 2:21-22)
Now the serpent [Satan] was more crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from every tree of the Garden?’” And when the woman saw that the tree was good and pleasant for food and that it was delightful to look at and to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some to her husband and he ate … And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:1-8).
And [God] said, “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
And He said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He will tread your head underfoot and you will lie in wait and bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:1-5).
The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “Behold the man has become like one of Us to know how to distinguish between good and evil. And now, lest he take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever. I will send him forth from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken” (Genesis 3:21-23).
So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this…And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he [Jesus] will crush your head and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15).
To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it, Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:16-19).
Since all have sinned and fallen short of the honor which God bestows (Romans 3:23).
The First Christmas
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:4-6).
When Mary had been promised in marriage to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. And her promised husband, Joseph being a just and upright man and not willing to expose her publicly to shame and disgrace her, decided to divorce her quietly. But as he was thinking this over, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins”, [that is, prevent them from falling and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God]. Then Joseph did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took her as his wife. But he had no union with her until she had borne her firstborn Son (Matthew 1:18-25).
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:4-7).
Jesus’ Miraculous Gift
Christ became flesh and lived awhile among us; and we actually saw His glory (1 John 1:14).
And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.”
The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching (Mark 11:17-18).
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him (Matthew 26:3).
Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people (John 18:12-14).
Jesus Died to Give Us the Gift of Eternal Life
Finally, Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
So, the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle (John 19:16-18).
Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit (John 19:28-30).
For the wages of sin is death, but the bountiful, free gift of God is eternal life through union with Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).
He personally bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds we are healed (1 Peter 2:4).
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows and pain of punishment, yet we ignorantly considered Him stricken by God. But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our guilt and with the stripes that wounded Him we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5).
Under the law almost everything is purified by means of blood, and without the shedding of blood there is neither release from sin and its guilt nor the remission of the due and merited punishment for sins (Hebrews 9:22).
The blood of Christ cleanses and removes from us all sin and guilt (1 John 1:7).
[Jesus said], “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command” (John 15:13-14).
Jesus Rises from the Dead
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you” (Matthew 28:1-7).
Christmas in Our Hearts Everyday
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas [Peter], and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:1-6).
He came to that which belonged to Him, to His own creation. And they did not receive and welcome Him. But to as many as did welcome and believe in Him, He gave the privilege to become children of God. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God (John 1:12-13).
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He even gave up His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in, trusts in, and relies on Him may not come to destruction but have everlasting life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him (John 3:16-17).
So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir (Galatians 4:7).
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).
May your Christmas be blessed by Jesus Christ, of whom the prophet Isaiah wrote:
For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this (Isaiah 9:6-7).
(All scriptures are taken from the New International Version, the New King James Version, and the Amplified Bible.)
Compiled by Norma Gail