Often overlooked but interesting insights about the Christmas story

| December 20, 2013

During this Christmas season, I was led to study the Bible about the events leading up to the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. And as God’s word is living and true, new revelations and details began to surface that quite honestly, took me by surprise. And I thought I knew about the Christmas story quite well considering that I’ve been hearing it for more than 30 years!

Anyway, here are some of the new ‘stuff’ that came to me as I was reading His Word.

1. Despite our obedience and faithfulness, the answers to our prayers are still in God’s time.

This can be seen in the story of Zechariah and his wife and the birth of their son, John the Baptist. The main points that stuck me have been documented in my previous post: Sometimes we need to wait a long time despite our most earnest prayers.

2. Mary was called ‘highly favored’, a word only used one other time in the Bible.

The same root words were used in Eph 1:6, which implies unmerited grace given to all believers. It seems to indicate that Mary was a recipient of this unmerited ‘favor’ or grace. Contrary to what some believers might say of Mary, I believe that she was chosen not because she managed to achieve a surpassing holiness of her own, but just simply because God chose her. And this unmerited grace, as spoken in Eph 1:6 is given to all believers as well.

3. The difference in response between Mary and Zechariah at their foretold miracle births warns us about faith and unbelief.

The angel was clearly displeased with Zechariah when he asked for a sign (Lk 1:18 – 20) to prove that all the angel said was going to come true. In contrast, Mary asked not out of unbelief but out of curiosity as to how the miracle birth was going to take place since she was a virgin (Lk 1:34).

4. Mary submitted herself in complete obedience to the purposes of God.

We often think that it was all a bed of roses for Mary when she was called to become the mother of Jesus. However, this was a difficult calling, one that requires lots of sacrifice and even grieve in the future. She had to withstand the looks of people all around her for being pregnant without being married. And she had to refrain from marital relations with Joseph until Jesus was born. And Mary uttered one of the most powerful prayers that we all, as believers, should say every single day, ‘Let it be to me according to your word.’ (Lk 1:38).

5. Elizabeth was the first recorded person in the New Testament to receive the Holy Spirit.

I had always thought that the infilling of the Holy Spirit in believers only came at Pentecost in the Upper Room as documented in Act 2:4. However as recorded in Lk 1:41, it shows clearly that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And even had signs to prove it when she discerned that Mary was bearing the son of the Most High. She was given a Word of Knowledge by the Spirit, a clear indication of one of the power gifts of the Spirit.

6. Both Zechariah and Elizabeth obeyed the Lord individually.

After John was born, the people wanted to name the son Zechariah, as was common in those days. But Elizabeth objected and said ‘John’. Everyone was very surprised and didn’t believe Elizabeth as the name John was not found in any of their family (Lk 1:59,60) and also probably because she was a woman. So they went to Zechariah and he said the exact same name of John, to everyone’s amazement.

7. Zechariah was the 2nd person in the New Testament to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

He prophesied in the power of the spirit in Luke 1:67 – 79.

8. Mary was still not considered married to Joseph when she carried and bore Jesus.

She was only betrothed to Joseph (Lk 1:5), or pledged to be married. Thus we can imagine the immense scrutiny she must bear being pregnant in those days out of a marriage and the sacrifice she had to make.

9. God chose to announce the birth of his beloved son, the most amazing miracle ever to be done on earth to a bunch of lowly shepherds.

God could have chosen to announce it to kings or even people with greater influence that could spread the word quicker and faster than shepherds (Lk 1:8,9). But he didn’t. Indeed, God chooses the lowly and the humble to do His work even when it could be done more efficiently by others.

10. Simeon and Anna were two of the first people to testify of Jesus and proclaim the Good News.

I might have read this passage before, but if I was to be honest, I didn’t even know of these 2 names until recently! Their stories can be found in Lk 2:25 – 38. It is interesting that God has chose to mention them as their stories are hardly spoken about in the Christmas stories. But we see that these 2 individuals, were obedient and devout and they were the first ones to prophesy about Jesus and his ministry.

There are probably alot more revelations that we can pull out of the Christmas story and I hope that some of these ‘new’ and interesting revelations will encourage all of us to dive deeper into the Word. Let us not become complacent when reading the Word as I have probably done with the Christmas story a thousand times. By God’s grace, He has opened my eyes to see new things in His word this time and I believe that He will reveal important truths for your life to as you hunger after His Word.

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About the Author ()

I have been a follower of Christ for more than 20 years now. Started from a Methodist church, then went on to a few charasmatic churches and again back to a Methodist church now. Thus I have experienced and seen a wide flavor of different denominations. Personally, I consider myself non-denominational as I can worship in many different styles. The important thing is that I follow the gospel and love Jesus. I am currently serving as a musician and a worship leader in my church. I believe that my calling is to help others enter into the presence of God through worship. I also enjoy teaching and discipling other believers, which is the main reason why this site was started. I hope to find other believers to join me in this cause to reach out and encourage other believers.

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