To know the complete Christmas story, you must go back to the Garden of Eden. Two things are relevant to our understanding of the beginning of Christmas. First, God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals. This set-in motion the principle of shedding blood on behalf of sinners. Second, God cursed the serpent saying that, Eve’s seed “shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
Then God issued through Moses The Law. Two thoughts are important to keep in mind. Throughout the Old Testament animals were sacrificed in obedience like that of what happened in the Garden of Eden. Also, the purpose of the law is to give the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)
The plan of redemption was set in motion. Before the New Testament, blood was shed in faith toward God. Without realizing it, what they did pointed toward the crucifixion of Christ. The sacrifice of animals was a daily event. It was not adequate, though, because animals did not have the capacity to sin. Therefore, they could not choose between good and evil. They were an imperfect sacrifice.
The only perfect sacrifice that could intervene permanently on behalf of mankind was the Son of God. When he took on human flesh, he had the option of sinning, yet he chose not to sin. He was the perfect sacrifice once and for all. He was fully God and fully man.
An angel appeared before Elizabeth, an old woman beyond childbearing years, who promised her that she would give birth to a son. That son became the forerunner of Christ, John the Baptist. Evidently, she and her husband Zacharias died while John was young. He probably went to live among what today we would call monks who lived in the desert. He became a rough sort of man, uncompromising in the ways of the Lord. He wore an animal skin and ate locusts in the desert.
An angel appeared before Mary, a teenager, that was highly regarded by God for her dedication. She was told to be the woman chosen as a virgin who would be impregnated to the power of the Holy Spirit. She visited Elizabeth who was six months pregnant. They rejoice together for God’s blessing to each of them. At the time of their greeting, Mary said, “my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” In other words, she recognized that she too needed a Savior even though she was highly regarded by God. Mary stayed three months then rejoined her husband, Joseph. In those days, they were considered married, but abstain from intimacy for one year at which time their marriage was fully established.
Joseph had several appearances by an angel. He was assured that it was God’s will for him to continue with his marriage to Mary. He was told that she would give birth to the Savior. After the Christmas event, when King Herod sought to kill Jesus as an infant, an angel told Joseph to take his family to Egypt for their safety. Later an angel told him it was safe to go home.
Shepherds went to the newborn baby Jesus in obedience to the angel that appeared to them. There they worshiped, returned back to their fields rejoicing, and they “made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.” (Luke 2:17)
Wiseman walked hundreds and hundreds of miles following a star to Bethlehem. They came to the house where Jesus was living with his family. They worshiped him giving gifts that would be helpful when the family had to flee to Egypt. Because the wise men were uncooperative with King Herod, he ordered that infants two years and younger be murdered in an effort to kill what he thought as Jesus a competition for the throne.
We have a king that was deceptive and had no desire to worship Jesus. We have shepherds (our blue-collar workers of today) that did worship and told others about Jesus. We have Wiseman (the upper wealthy class of today) that worshiped giving gifts for God’s purpose. We have a married couple who bore the responsibility of raising the child Jesus into manhood.
Where do you fit into the Christmas story? Are you an unbeliever? Are you a hard worker that will believe when told the truth of God’s plan? Are you a person of social standing who is willing to worship Christ while supporting the presence of God? It is more important than to celebrate Christmas. You must believe the complete Christmas story.