Christmas holds a special place in our hearts. We just love the Christmas traditions, music, food, memories, and more that come along with the season of celebrating the birth of Christ! If you’d like to know what some of those traditions are, you can listen in to our conversation all about Christmas from Episode 73 of the podcast (Mark and I also read the Christmas story aloud at the end of the episode!):

As we prepare for gatherings with friends and family, it’s important to remember the real reason for the season. Your own family may have a tradition of reading the Christmas story over dinner or before the kids open presents around the tree, and there is so much truth we can can glean from the beautiful gift of Jesus’ birth. Today I want to share five practical truths we all can take special note of as we read the Christmas story this year.

Here is where you can find the Christmas story: Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1:26-2:20.

1. God is with us.

Even before Jesus’ birth, His parents were told His name and that He would be called Immanuel (Matthew 1:21, Luke 1:31, Matthew 1:23). Want to know something even more amazing? This title was predicted hundreds of years earlier in the book of Isaiah in the Bible!

This is significant because Immanuel means “God with us.” Ever since the Garden of Eden, we have experienced separation between ourselves and God. In the Old Testament, people had to rely on priests to communicate with God on their behalf.

Here with Jesus’ birth, we are given a promise that God would be with us. We now have direct access to Him. He knows our struggles, pain, and hardship because He is here! He is here to walk alongside us and be our Friend who understands.

He is with you.

If you’d like to know more about what it means to have a friend and Savior who understands, I’ve written all about this topic in my book, Real Moms…Real Jesus: Meet the Friend Who Understands.

2. We can have faith even when we don’t understand.

Can you imagine yourself in Mary’s shoes? You are betrothed to be married and one day while living out your regular life you get some pretty earth-shattering news: You are pregnant with the Son of God.

This news has the potential to change everything about her life. Her soon-to-be-husband could decide to walk away and then what kind of future could she have? In spite of all this, Mary has faith and surrenders to God’s plan.

Have you found yourself in a situation where life just doesn’t make sense? It can seem like there is no way to get through your current circumstances or that life will get any better. It is during these dark seasons of life where we can choose to simply cling to the faith and trust that we have in God. We may not understand why these things are happening, what God’s plan is, or how things will turn out but we can still have faith like Mary did.

3. You are loved.

Jesus’ birth marks a major milestone of God’s redemption plan for all of Creation. He is providing a way to bridge the chasm that separates Himself from us – and the cost will be great. But He is happy to pay that cost because of His great love for us.

We can sometimes read through a familiar verse like John 3:16 and miss out on the deep meaning: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Did you catch it? God so loved.

God didn’t just send Jesus to fix a broken world or get His plan “back on track.” His motivation is love. For you! God loves you so much and it is evident in the Christmas story the lengths He went to in order to provide a way for you to have a relationship with Him.

4. There is hope, even in adversity.

The greatest gift in the world came after a rejection. Mary and Joseph were traveling at the time of Jesus’ birth and were told there was no room for them in the inn. Can you imagine being pregnant and in active labor and being turned away? Not to mention that Mary was carrying the literal Savior of the world!

This portion of the Christmas story reminds us that we will often face adversity, hardships, and troubles even when we are doing what we are called to do. We will experience troubles as we go through life, but even in adversity, God provides us with hope.

5. Good news should be celebrated.

Have you noticed how Jesus’ birth is announced in Luke 2:13-14? It isn’t through a birth announcement in the mail or quiet word of mouth. There’s an entire host of angels (some translations say a “multitude”) shouting it from the heavens! Can you imagine being on that hillside and hearing angels sing out about Jesus’ birth?

When was the last time news made you shout for joy and tell everyone you know? I just love that we have a God who can’t contain good news. He celebrates and makes sure everyone knows about this incredible gift!

We tend to talk about our hardships often, but we can forget to pause and recognize good things. Part of this is thanking God for the good He has brought into our lives and another part is celebrating with those around us. Whether it may be pausing to celebrate the birth of our Savior or perhaps some other way God has been working in our life this year, what is something you can celebrate this Christmas?

I hope these practical truths are valuable reminders as you read the Christmas story this year. There are many more you could get out of the Christmas story, so you may notice others! As we celebrate the birth of Christ, I would encourage you to pause and dwell on this story and consider what God may be revealing to you through it this year.

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