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The Bigger Story Before the Christmas Story

November 30, 2020

Invite your family around the table, or around the tree, and read the Christmas story together this year. Prepare your heart to hear the story told in a fresh way—as well as gain new insights like “What was that star?” and pointing out the place the shepherds trembled at the sight of angels in the sky. An easy question/answer format helps the young and old in faith follow along.

The story is old, but the promise of a Savior is a gift waiting to be unwrapped by anyone with faith to receive it.

by Dr. J. Vernon McGee

The Christmas story is simple: Someone has come to rescue us.

Rescue us from what? Read all the way to the end where you’ll find the offer of the best Christmas gift ever.

First Question: When Did the Real Christmas Story Begin?

When the Christmas season comes around every year, our thoughts turn to all the bright and beautiful things surrounding our holiday celebration. Many times on Christmas mornings, Christian families gather around as someone reads “the Christmas story,” usually in Luke 2.

But the real Christmas story begins much earlier than that, back in a world so wonderful, it defies our imagination. Christmas began in a garden! Let’s see how it all got started from Genesis 2.

When Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, they lived together in harmony with animals and nature. But that all changed when Adam and Eve chose to believe Satan rather than believe God. They lost all authority over this earth, and today we have no control at all. The floods, tornados, earthquakes, and extreme weather conditions all over the world prove that.

Then there came the test involving the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Don’t eat it, God said. No one thought the test was whether the forbidden tree was good for food or not; it probably offered the sweetest and juiciest fruit in the garden. The test was, “Will Adam and Eve obey God?”

Sadly, we know the rest of the story: The serpent tempted them and, rather than believing God, the man and woman believed the serpent. We don’t know what the serpent looked like, but aside from humans, it was probably the highest creature God created. It was also able to communicate, which explains why Satan chose it as his evil instrument.

When Adam and Eve believed Satan rather than God and ate of the tree, they had to hide themselves from God’s presence (see Genesis 3:1-8). No more could they walk with God in the Garden in the cool of the day. No more long conversations. Their choice cut them off from God.

And that is where we still are today. No one has a natural bent for God. Our nature hates God, and our old carnal nature can’t be a friend of God. That was the consequence when Adam and Eve ate of the tree, and immediately they tried to get away from Him.

Last Question:  Why Did Jesus Come?

The Christmas story is usually thought to be about a birth, the beginning of life. But it’s really about death. Our death. Jesus Christ was born into this world to destroy our greatest enemy—the enemy that no doctor, no scientist, no world ruler can deal with, because death deals with all of them. When death knocks, they have to put down whatever they are doing. (See Hebrews 9:27 and Romans 5:12, 19.)

Death is the result of sin that entered our world back in the beginning of the human family. We all sinned in Adam. Now, we’re all born with a sin nature, and death follows. Until we come to Jesus Christ, we’re eternally separated from God. He alone can make us righteous. Christ came to deal with that sin nature, which no man can deal with. It’s the last enemy that will be destroyed. As He takes our sin in His death on the cross, He gives us His righteousness.

Now when you die, you will join Jesus in heaven. Either you have as much right in heaven as Christ has, or you have no right there at all. Your right is His right, for He has made over to you all that He is.

That’s the only thing that can get you and me to heaven, my friend. Over 2000 years ago, He took upon Himself our humanity that we might be made righteous and complete in Him.

But God didn’t let them run away. He went looking for them. He looks for us today, too.

Continue in “The Christmas Story.” Download it here.

My Turn

Dear Father, the real Christmas story is so much better than any movie version. Thank You that Your plan to rescue us has been in place since the beginning. Thank You for seeking us out when we were hopeless and dead and desperate in our sins. Thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate this season and whose life is ours when we acknowledge Him as our Savior. His story becomes our story when His life becomes our life. Help me share this good news, the greatest gift of all time, with as many people as will listen.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen. 

  • If you could describe this Christmas season in a few words, what would it be?
  • What about Jesus’ story makes you stop and think?
  • What Christian tradition do you do (or want to do) that speaks of Jesus?