10 Things the Nativity Story Teaches Us About God

10 Things the Nativity Story Teaches Us About God

Out of the most humble circumstances, Jesus’s birth fulfilled specific and long-anticipated prophesies. The nativity story not only teaches us much about Jesus’ birth, but also about the man He is, and the love our Father has for all of us.

Here are 10 things the nativity story, that Christians celebrate so joyously at Christmas, tell us about God:

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    1. Jesus was humble.

    “‘Nazereth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanel asked. ‘Come and see,’ said Philip.” (John 1:46 NIV)

    NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible explains that Nazereth had less than 500 residents, and “great people were expected to come from famous places, such as Jerusalem, not from small villages.”Yet that is where the nativity story begins – in Nazareth, where Mary and Joseph were engaged to be married. Though Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the young family fled from there some time after Jesus was born, and he was raised in Nazareth.

    Jesus didn’t need to come into the world alongside fanfare in tune with our idea of a grandiose entrance. He’s the same today as was when He walked the earth: simply, but powerfully and miraculously always with us.

    2. All Things Are Possible with God

    “God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledge to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel one to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’” (Luke 1:27-28)

    Mary received news in that moment that changed her life forever. Not the kind of news that anyone else could, or ever would, be able to relate to. Even in our direst of circumstances and messiest mistakes, we can find someone who has gone through it before us. Not this time. Not for Mary. Though afraid of what that would entail, Mary confidently placed her trust in God, answering Him, “I am the Lord’s servant …May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38)

    Faith trusts that anything is possible for God, but few of us live through such a huge impossibility as Mary did. Following Jesus isn’t easy. It wasn’t easy for His earthly mother, Mary, and it isn’t easy for us now. The impossible is possible with God.

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    3. God often works in seemingly strange ways.

    “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.”(Matthew 1:18)

    Joseph had to decide if he believed Mary, and we need not think too long on how the whole situation looked to him. With much at stake, we can see evidence of the tender heart God choose for his Son’s earthly father, as he didn’t wish to embarrass Mary, but decided to divorce her quietly (Matthew 1:19). Then, “the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’” (Matthew 1:20)

    This improbable set of circumstances perhaps readied the couple to receive the impossible with God, regardless of public support or opinion. Christ’s methods on earth then and still today are frequently improbable. His ways are not our ways. In fact, they are often completely backwards.

    4. Biblical prophecies will be fulfilled

    “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him …” (Luke 1:76)

    Zechariah’s prophetic words that his son, John, would go on to make way for the Son of God was indeed realized when John the Baptist emerged from the wilderness many years later to baptize Christ followers, and Christ Himself, in the Jordan River.

    There were many prophesies that were fulfilled in Jesus’s birth. According to BibleStudyTools.com, "Bible scholars have concluded from much research that, hundreds of years before Jesus was even born, more than 300 prophecies were recorded to tell of His coming, His life and journey to the cross, and the power of His Resurrection. These prophecies point to the exact location, circumstances, and even timing of Christ’s birth. God alone is the only One who could plan those specific details and ensure they all come to pass."

    Isaiah 7:14 prophesied, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Immanuel means “God with us.” Indeed, the Son of God was born unto us through the virgin, Mary.

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    5. God makes it simple for all to come to Him.

    “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” (Luke 2:8-9)

    God loves all of us equally and created us each with incredible purpose, uniquely gifted, and immensely loved. I believe there’s little more compelling to demonstrate that than choosing shepherds to hear the good news the night Jesus was born.

    Shepherds were a lowly, simple class of people. The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible says that “most people of status throughout the empire viewed shepherds as lowly and sometimes rough, unclean or even dangerous.”

    Despite their early reputation, God chose them to witness the angels’ announcement in Luke 2:10-12:  “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

    Christ, as complicated as it is for us to understand all that He is and all that He’s done, makes it simple for all to come to Him. God loves all of us, and sent Jesus to save all of us.

    6. Christ's Birth Changed the World

    “Suddenly a great company of heavily hosts appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’” (Luke 2:13-14)

    The chorus of angels weren’t the only undeniable evidence that the world had shifted the night Christ was born. Assuredly, the shepherds found the baby in the manger just as the angels has said (Luke 2:16-20), and they were undoubtedly forever changed.

    I believe that the dreams we have in our hearts are stirred up by the One who created us to go after them. He’s guiding us, all along the way, and though we may not hear the audible voice of God or witness a chorus of angels to give us directions, Christ is always with us. When we seek Him with all of our hearts, we will find that He marks the moments of our lives in celebration with us. Each one step closer to welcoming us home.

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    7. God's plans don't always lead to easy journeys.

    “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” (Luke 2:6-7)

    When I think back to all of the preparation and anticipation of my first child’s birth, the planning is laughable. Each week, I would research to see which fruit-size my baby was, check things off the baby registry, and adjust my never-ending checklist of nursery chores. I folded and refolded the drawers of tiny clothes and planned what those first few days would be like. But nothing went the way I planned.

    It took great faith for Mary to hop on a donkey while pregnant and travel to Bethlehem for the census. It took even greater faith to have her baby in a stable, when no rooms were available. Yet, as worried and as frustrated as she must have naturally been along the journey, she faithfully trusted God to provide for her – to love her like He always had. It couldn’t have been easy. It wasn’t easy for Jesus, either, to walk the road to the cross. Yet that night, born in a manger, sparked the beginning of His journey to do just that.

    8. Christ brings hope to the world

    “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:17-19)

    How it must have felt for the shepherds to feel Hope that Christmas Day. They were changed, and because they were changed, all who heard the story from their changed faces were also changed. The ripple effect of love began immediately. It’s who Jesus is.

    Mary, unsure what to make of all the love and hope from becoming a mother and witnessing the birth of her Savior, simply treasured the moment. Christ begs us to treasure and store moments of hope in our hearts all along the way. Life is promised to be hard, but He has conquered death so that we might live with Him eternally. The ripple effect of love started in a manger and continues in all of us.

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  • 9. God's presence fills those who seek Him with joy.

    9. God's presence fills those who seek Him with joy.

    “Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’” (Matthew 2:2)

    The Magi came sometime after Jesus was born, bearing gifts and wanting to worship Him as king of the Jews.  These three kings came from far away to worship the baby king, but their purpose consisted of so much more, which became clearer as they arrived in Jerusalem. After their encounter with Herrod, they were able to warn Mary and Joseph of his plot to find them, allowing the family to flee to safety. And when they finally found Jesus, they were filled with joy.

    “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him” (Matthew 2:10-11).

    We never truly know why we reach for the dreams and callings God lays on our hearts. There is always a part we can see and understand, and another that rests in His just and loving hands. The joy that the three kings expressed is akin to the joy we experience when God makes His presence known in our lives, beyond what we can ask for or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

    10. God came to give us love

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God from the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5)

    The Gospel of John doesn’t record the Nativity Story, but I believe in five verses he sums up so beautifully what it represented on the first Christmas day. The reality of Jesus’s birth is so immensely grand, yet He came into the world so simply.

    We look for grand measure and signs in almost all that we do. It’s in us to seek big things, but we so often miss His presence because we fail to reconcile that though He is high above all, He came down to us.

    He resides in us through the Holy Spirit. He knew all of us, and our sins, before He breathed His first breath of earthly air that night in the manger. His love for us is bigger than anything we will ever be able to comprehend, yet He chooses to be with us, always.

    Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, https://sunnyand80.org. She is a stay-at-home mom, freelance writer, blogger, and author of, “Friends with Everyone …Friendship Within the Love of Christ.” She resides in Northern Ohio with her husband of eleven years, two daughters, and their Golden-doodle.

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