6 Lessons Hidden in the Christmas Story (2023)

What’s the best story you’ve ever heard—the one that drew you in and had you hanging on every word until the end? The dynamics probably involved suspense, danger, and heart-tugging moments.

And for me, the best stories are those with happy endings (Ahem—Hallmark movies).

Since many of us grew up hearing the Christmas story, sometimes the wonder is lost in the retelling (like watching a Christmas classic such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the 49th time).

But for today, sit back and watch the story unfold from 6 hidden lessons you may have never considered.

1. God offers forgiveness to all

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit"(Isaiah 11:1-2).

The underlying message, woven throughout the Christmas story, is “God and sinners reconciled”. Whether we’re proud of our ancestral roots or not, we’re stuck with them. And while we don’t get to choose our lineage, God chose Christ’s human ancestry right from David’s seed.

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David—the man after God’s own heart, yet David—the man who committed adultery. This speaks to our Father’s abundant mercy! The Messiah descended from a royal human bloodline, but one riddled with human frailty. But Christ’s heavenly ancestry rang perfect, pure, and holy.

This is the ministry of reconciliation. God sent Emmanuel—God with us, to “save His people from their sins”; no matter who we are, or what we’ve done.

2. Christ will be our shepherd

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'"(Luke 2:13-14).

Shepherds were looked down on in Bethlehem society. People didn’t exactly rub elbows with them at social events. But God’s message was clear—this hope was for ALL people, including shepherds!

There is another reason why the appearance to the shepherds is important. Ezekiel 34:15, “'I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,' says the Lord God”, is just one of many passages in the Old Testament referring to Christ as our Shepherd. Christ came to bestow peace, but also to lead us. What a comfort!

3. God can perform the impossible

“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. and His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation'”(Luke 1:46-50).

Cousins Mary and Elizabeth each had miraculous reasons to rejoice! God had honored their everyday faithfulness by granting them pregnancies. Both seemed impossibilities; one, an old woman of 80 years; the other, a virgin.

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As the angel said to Mary upon the announcement that she would conceive in holiness, “For nothing shall be impossible with God”.

4. God provides in His way

"So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn"(Luke 2:6-7).

We tend to glance over the stable birth, forgetting how traumatizing that would be for an expectant mom. But you can be sure that Mary, a female, probably fretted over this.

Each of the four times I was pregnant, I worried about the timing of delivery. Would it be during the night? Would we get to the hospital in time? What if we were on a trip?

Well, Mary was on a trip! And not only that, she couldn’t find a decent room in which to have her baby! She also had to lay him where the animals fed.

But God used Mary, an unwed teenage girl, to deliver His Christmas gift on a trip in a barn. He provided in His way, in His time.

5. God grants peace when we wait on Him

"But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart"(Luke 2:19).

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Mary had just experienced unexpected excitement, what with the shepherds rushing in and out, telling everyone about her baby. Not only was she processing, but she was probably experiencing protective, maternal instincts.

She recalled the angel’s words to her. “Blessed are you among women”, “Son of God”, and “Nothing shall be impossible with God” were now fulfilled. This was really happening, and she needed time to catch up to the ramifications for her son; her family.

When we pause to reflect, we allow the Spirit to speak. We can reflect on the wonder of our personal God; God of the impossible.

6. God is in control of leadership and world events

"When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born"(Matthew 2:3-4).

Herod was jealous, and God knew it; in fact, God allowed the wise men to go straight to this pompous king in search of the Real King. Why? God, the Creator, set that star in the sky, pointing the wise men to Bethlehem. But then—nothing. No directions. They had lost sight of the star.

“Surely the king would know! He could tell them where the child-king was!” So they thought. Instead, he sought to find the child and destroy him.

In every twist and turn of the story surrounding Christ’s birth, God’s hand overrules. Our God, who made the earth, sky, and stars, had a plan.

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Our world is in much the same, chaotic state as back in Herod’s day; we worry about the future. It’s hard, trusting a God we cannot see, while perplexing events unfold.

But God is in control, and peace lies in resting in the Prince of Peace.

Like most Hallmark movies, this one has a happy ending—yet one with a complex meaning. Even though we are a sinful people, God regards our lowliness, desiring to forgive and shepherd us through life.

As the shepherds returned to the sheep-dotted hillside, they carried with them a joy they’d never known. The wise men experienced God’s sovereignty in directing them safely home. Our personal God used each character in the story to reveal these hidden truths. But if we’re not carefulwe’ll miss them.

We can rest and reflect like Mary, assured that God knows our story, and that He has a plan. We can’t explain it all, but we know the One Who guided the star. And the happy ending? He came to bring us inner peace, no matter our circumstances.

Ruthie Gray is a wife, Gigi, and mom of four (who lived to tell about it). Ruthie’s passion is mentoring moms to capture joy, providing weekly parenting advice through humor and practical application of Scripture at Ruthie Gray.Mom. Ruthie is co-contributor of the mom app, Daily TruthBytes4Moms, the author of Stepping Stones; 8 Mindsets for the mom who thinks she’s failing at motherhood, and Count to Nine; 9 Liberating Steps for Mom Frustration and Anger. Click to download her Wife and Mommy Survival Kit here.

This article is part of our larger Christmas and Advent resource library centered around the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. We hope these articles help you understand the meaning and story behind important Christian holidays and dates and encourage you as you take time to reflect on all that God has done for us through his son Jesus Christ!

(Video) The Birth of Jesus: Luke 1-2

What is Christmas? Understanding History, Origin and Traditions
The Birth of Jesus: Bible Story and Scripture Verses
What is Advent: Definition & Meaning Behind Christmas Tradition

The History and Meaning of the Advent Calendar
Christmas Bible Verses & Scripture Story

Photo credit:©Thinkstock/mastapiece

FAQs

What does the story of Christmas teach us? ›

The Christmas story is about inclusion and a reminder that family is important to us and to God. He doesn't want us to be alone or try to do our spiritual walk by ourselves. Family is critical and essential for our own wellbeing.

What is the message we get from Christmas? ›

The message of Christmas is that where there is hope, love, light and life, the plan and purpose of God will reach.

What can we learn from Joseph and Mary? ›

What do we learn from Joseph and Mary? We can take away a lot from their lesson of obedience to God's calling. They saw that serving God and doing His will was far greater than being socially accepted.

What is the most important life lesson that you get from the story of A Christmas Carol? ›

As the triumphant and touching end of the story goes, Scrooge is able to defeat a lifetime of selfishness and the worship of money to become a new man with an entirely new outlook on life. He learns how to be patient, kind and generous. The story can teach us a lot.

What are three lessons that can be learned from a Christmas carol? ›

Here are five lessons from the holiday classic:
  • Learning begins with listening. Initially, Scrooge wants nothing to do with the spirits. ...
  • Bitterness will poison you. Scrooge's nephew, Fred, is a wise man. ...
  • There's joy in starting over. ...
  • We must be present to win. ...
  • We need to live with the end in mind.
22 Dec 2015

What are the three importance of Christmas? ›

Christmas 2021: History

Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The name Christmas comes from the mass of Christ. A mass service is where Christians remember that Jesus died for us and then comes back to life.

What does Christmas actually stand for? ›

Christmas, Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus. The English term Christmas (“mass on Christ's day”) is of fairly recent origin. The earlier term Yule may have derived from the Germanic jōl or the Anglo-Saxon geōl, which referred to the feast of the winter solstice.

What is the famous quote from the Christmas story? ›

"Only one thing in the world could've dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window."

What the story of Joseph teaches us? ›

Perhaps the most powerful lesson from the life of Joseph was that he trusted God completely. This is both a spiritual lesson and a leadership. Through the 23 years in Egypt before his brothers came, he kept the faith and trusted God.

What Mary can teach us about joy? ›

Mary's story recalls that joy can't be gotten cheaply. The pain of the world cannot be papered over in a sentimental display of tamed little angels and a cute, chubby baby Jesus. The emptiness in the world and in our own lives can't be filled with enough hurry or buying power or likes or retweets.

What is the main point of the story of Joseph? ›

Its people survive despite their own foolishness and wickedness, indeed, ironically, in part because of these. The story is told as a testimony to the operation of divine providence: “. . . you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good . . .” (Genesis 50:20) sums up its moral.

What lessons did Scrooge learn from each of the spirits? ›

From the first ghost, the Ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge learns that the simple things in life like love, friendship, and laughter hold value. Then the Ghost of Christmas Present shows him that those he considers foolish or beneath his notice actually understand Christmas—and life—better than he does.

What lesson did Christmas present teach Scrooge? ›

The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge the joys and the hardships of others: the poverty of the Cratchits, but also their delight in loving each other and in their family ties.

What lesson do you learn from the chapter the best Christmas present in the world? ›

Answer: The story ' best Christmas Present in the world ' has beautifully depicted the moral lesson . It conveys that war and fight only bring sadness and humiliation all over the world. one should generally follow the patch of peace for attitaning happyness in the world .

What are the three most important themes of A Christmas Carol? ›

A Christmas Carol - Themes overview
  • Christmas.
  • redemption.
  • social injustice.

What is the lesson Scrooge learns in Stave 4? ›

Scrooge eventually learns that he's the dead man and pleads with the spirit for the opportunity to change the future.

What are 5 facts about Christmas? ›

Check out these 10 facts...
  • Christmas is celebrated on 25th December each year. ...
  • Father Christmas didn't always wear red clothes! ...
  • There are 9 reindeer in total. ...
  • Prince Albert made Christmas trees popular! ...
  • A man called Tom Smith invented Christmas crackers.
19 Nov 2021

What are the core values of Christmas? ›

The values of Christmas
  • Faith. Faith, our relationship with God, are the main pillars of Christmas and what makes sense to it. ...
  • Family. For many of us, family represents an important pillar in our lives. ...
  • Solidarity. The love we feel for our family propels us to give to others.
16 Dec 2019

What Christmas means to Christians? ›

For Christians, the meaning of Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Even the word 'Christmas' itself is a shortened version of 'Christian Mass'. The Christmas Story is the story of God sending his son from Heaven to Earth in the form of Jesus Christ.

What are the three importance of Christmas? ›

Christmas 2021: History

Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The name Christmas comes from the mass of Christ. A mass service is where Christians remember that Jesus died for us and then comes back to life.

What is the main purpose of celebrating Christmas? ›

Christmas was traditionally a Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus, but in the early 20th century, it also became a secular family holiday, observed by Christians and non-Christians alike.

Why do we value Christmas? ›

Because Christmas is about the birth of God's Son – Jesus. It is about how he came to give us love, hope and joy. That message doesn't change from year to year.

What are 5 facts about Christmas? ›

Check out these 10 facts...
  • Christmas is celebrated on 25th December each year. ...
  • Father Christmas didn't always wear red clothes! ...
  • There are 9 reindeer in total. ...
  • Prince Albert made Christmas trees popular! ...
  • A man called Tom Smith invented Christmas crackers.
19 Nov 2021

What are the core values of Christmas? ›

The values of Christmas
  • Faith. Faith, our relationship with God, are the main pillars of Christmas and what makes sense to it. ...
  • Family. For many of us, family represents an important pillar in our lives. ...
  • Solidarity. The love we feel for our family propels us to give to others.
16 Dec 2019

What Christmas means to Christians? ›

For Christians, the meaning of Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Even the word 'Christmas' itself is a shortened version of 'Christian Mass'. The Christmas Story is the story of God sending his son from Heaven to Earth in the form of Jesus Christ.

Why is Christmas so important to Christians? ›

Christmas is important to many Christians because it reminds them that: Jesus, the Son of God, came to Earth for all people, symbolised through the visits of the wise men and the shepherds. Mary and Joseph both had a strong faith in God, despite the difficulties they faced.

What is the most important part of Christmas? ›

What is the most important thing about Christmas? The fact that is the birth of Jesus.

What does the word Christmas mean? ›

The word Christmas comes from Middle English Cristemasse, which in turn comes from Old English Cristes-messe, literally meaning Christ's Mass. Of course, we are not talking about the physical mass of Christ's body. The origin of mass, in the Christian sense of the word, is not entirely clear.

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