Each month, we will feature the post of a guest writer. This month, we are excited to share the thoughts of one of our students, Caleb Davis. Caleb is a sophomore at South Point High School. He serves faithfully with our worship team in the A/V department. This week, he takes a look at the telling of the Christmas story and why it is important to us.
In today’s world, everyone (Christian or not) knows the Christmas story of the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s a known story. Angels talk to Joseph, Joseph marries Mary (who is a virgin, yet bares a child) Joseph takes Mary to Bethlehem where they are denied entry to an inn and sent to a stable where Mary gives birth to a child named Jesus. Angels the tell of Jesus’s arrival to some kings and shepherds who follow a certain star where they find Jesus and praise him with gifts. Typical Christmas story, but recently people have been going through to find things in the story unmentioned and filling in a few gaps. Questions like how many shepherds/kings met Jesus (a lot) and was Jesus even born in December (no) have been answered and focused on in the past century. But, that is not what my devotional is about (even though that would be fun.) My devotional will simply be about how the story is told through the 4 gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the bible (NIV edition)
We will start with the first of the 4 gospels, Matthew. The first chapter of Matthew talks about the genealogy of Jesus. It basically outlines one of Jesus’s family trees. To sum it up, it starts with Abraham and works it ways through the tree to Jesus the Messiah. After that, is the part where Joseph accepts Jesus as a son. You know… angel comes to Joseph, Joseph is afraid, angel says to not be afraid and accept Mary as his wife and that she will bear a child who is actually the son of God. Joseph tells the angel to check his facts and slow down (not really.) Then Joseph wakes up and that is the end of the dream. After the part where Joseph wakes up from said dream, the story skips to the part where Mary gives birth to Jesus and then the chapter ends. The second chapter tells the part of the story of when the (no direct number given) kings who are sent by king Herod to find Jesus. Obviously, the kings bring gifts of gold (expensive), Frankincense (expensive) and Myrrh (take a guess) to present to Jesus. After they worship the one true king, they decide to ignore king Herod (on purpose) and head off to somewhere Herod was not. The next part of the chapter is about Joseph, Mary and Jesus moving around to avoid Herod, so that is basically where Matthew stops the birth story.
Next up is the good ole gospel of Mark. The weird part about Mark is that it does not start with the birth story, instead skipping to John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus’s baptism. Because Mark does not have anything that is essential to the birth story, we are hoping to move on to the next gospel, even though Mark is interesting in its own rights.
Unlike its fellow gospel of Mark, Luke starts with an introduction, then starts as far back as the foretelling of John the Baptist’s birth! For time (and word count) sake, we will skip the parts about John the Baptist’s birth foretold and Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. Before we go too far however, we will briefly talk about Jesus’s birth being foretold. The foretelling of Jesus’s birth tells the part of the story where Mary is visited by the angel named Gabriel. He told Mary the game plan for Jesus’s birth. To sum that part up, Gabriel is sent by God to tell Mary the she is going to bear a child (as a virgin), then give birth to a child to which she will name Jesus. Now we skip to chapter 2, where Jesus is born within the beginning of the chapter. Chapter 2 is the Christmas story most everyone knows by heart. It starts with the census and ending (on line 22) when Jesus is given his name.
The last of the 4 gospels, John, starts in yet another different way. The gospel of John starts with a summarized first chapter of genesis before going into a summarized version of the birth of Christ. The big difference is that the focus is actually telling how John was born with the light to preach about Christ Jesus being born before telling about how Jesus is the one true Son of God. Just like the gospel of Mark, John does not have a distinctive story about the birth of Jesus, but instead a side story with important lore.
Overall, each gospel gives its own information as well as lore to the story of Jesus that further cements and solidifies the story about the birth of Christ. But, why does it matter? (*gasp* why would he say that!). While the story of Jesus’s birth is a good story and each gospel giving its own story is cool, the reason it matters is because the birth of Jesus, is the birth of our salvation. Jesus is not just a baby in a manger in an aged (yet enthralling) story, Jesus Christ is the salvation and savior of the world. Jesus’ birth is one of the most important story to Christians next to the crucifixion because it describes how God’s love and grace was given to us again through a man who was actually the savior of the world.
In conclusion, while the story of Jesus Christ’s birth is a fun and classic tale, we as Christians need to remember the real reason for the season, Jesus left his throne and came down into a broken world fully of sinners (like me and you) just to live a perfect life, then die on a sinner’s cross, all because he loved us, and give us new life. So, enjoy the holidays, but remember the real reason we call it CHRISTmas.