Why the Bible should feature at Christmas
Posted by Trevor Wilson, 17 December 2018
It’s the same every year. We get overwhelmed by how commercial Christmas is becoming. We voice our distain at how early the Christmas decorations appear in the shops and how Advent has been turned into a door opening activity, (that in my childhood never revealed any chocolate!), but now offers anything from whisky to perfume, socks to make–up.
Now our Christmas season contains little of the true message of God coming into our world to redeem a lost and broken humanity. We long for it to be different, for the Christmas story to play a more central role in our celebrations.
How did we get here? What can we do to keep our focus on the true meaning of Christmas while the rest of the world around us seems to have forgotten what Christmas is really about?
One way is to take a step back from the festive chaos and re–read the Bible narratives associated with Christmas. Reminding ourselves that the ‘Christmas Story’ was being told long before the traditions we are familiar with were ever started.
Reading the Bible story re–orientates us again. It reminds us that we are not unlike the first readers, longing for the Messiah to come. The Old Testament prophets help us see the aching’s and longings of a nation desperately looking for a Saviour. Israel was in a desperate state spiritually and nationally. Oppressed, fearful, uncertain…sound familiar? Many people today are longing for hope, for a saviour, for God to step into their world. (Helpful Bible references: Isaiah 7:14, 9:2–7, 11:1–10 ,Micah 5:2).
It also reminds us of the power of a name. When the angel appeared to both Mary and Joseph, they were given specific details about the name of the child that was to be born. (Matthew 1:21–25 / Luke 1:31–33). When the angles appeared to Zachariah in the temple (Luke 1:5–23) and the Shepherds on the Judean hillsides (Luke 2:8–19), they were given news of hope, of a Saviour, of a way back to God! This is the true message of Christmas, because 2,000 years later it is still Jesus, Immanuel, God with us that we need to encounter.
That is why it is important to read the Bible story at Christmas and beyond. It tells us just enough about the background to remind us that we are not that far removed from the story. It tells us clearly who it is that entered our world to save and rescue us. No time in history, no nation or people are ever beyond needing a Saviour, they just don’t know that yet. The Bible story offers us the hope that cannot be found in any other gift or person. It offers us a Saviour, Christ the Lord. And here’s the thing, when we read the Bible it’s not just a story we’re reading, it’s the very word of God (John 1:18). When we pick it up to read it, God comes to us.
When we gift the Bible to others this Christmas season be assure that when pages are turned, and words are read God is present with those who are reading. It is His Word, His story and His heart and desire for all everywhere to come to a knowledge of Christ as our Saviour.
Why not pick up a copy of The Story to help you read with fresh eyes the account of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ and his early followers as recorded in the books of Luke and Acts? This helpful edition has been presented without chapter and verses, in a single column layout so that we can read and understand the amazing journey with Jesus, the Son of God and his first followers.
We have also provided you with a free printable Christmas download below: