The story behind the Christmas story

The Christmas story from the perspective of the Christian tradition is that God’s son came to earth, born as a baby in Bethlehem’s manger. We associate gift giving then with Jesus the greatest gift of all.

I think most of us know at least that part of the story. But is it just one story in a great collection of stories believed by Christians or is there more to the story than a baby born in a manger?

It is not just a sentimental, feel-good story, it is far bigger than that because it is part of God’s big story. There is a story behind the Christmas story and that is about a God who loved so much that He gave Himself to rescue humanity from themselves and their own selfishness. This baby was no ordinary baby – He was God becoming human flesh. Consider what sacrifice is involved for God to become human.

The Bible tells us that Jesus the Son of God didn’t think His equality with God was something that He needed to cling to, but He gave up His divine privileges and was born a human being. Jesus goes from the glories of Heaven to the Bethlehem stable about 2,000 years ago. From Heaven where He was being worshipped by the angels, to a stable that was quite different than a stable from our day. He gave that up, didn’t cling to it but takes what He has and places it back into the hands of the Father. Do you see His sacrifice, do you see His Christmas giving? This is some of the back story to Christmas.

He gave up His divine privileges to becomes a servant and takes orders. All the limitations and difficulties of humanity are now going to be His experience. He goes from being creator to being a servant. He releases being the source of authority to having no authority of His own, and from being in control to no longer being in control. This is the story behind the story.

If again this year we give up a lot of what we have known of Christmas, remember it is a small sacrifice compared to His. This is Christmas, that Jesus the Son of God would give up what He had so we could gain what He had. Do you see His sacrifice, do you see His Christmas giving, do you see the magnitude of His sacrifice to come to earth?

Our sacrifices, gift giving and blessing of others will never come close to His. And this is the back story to Christmas.


Fred Erb serves as Pastor at Listowel Community Church.

Pastor Fred Erb