Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The True Christmas Story

Leslie Basham: There are a lot of stories about Christmas, but today we'll hear the one true Christmas story.

Girl: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby born to you will be holy, and He will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35 paraphrased).

Leslie Basham: Merry Christmas. This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, December 25. Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We're celebrating Christmas all this week on Revive Our Hearts by telling some very special Christmas stories.

Today we want to tell the very best Christmas story and the most important Christmas story of all. To help me tell this story, I've brought together some of my friends--about a dozen of my little girlfriends. Well, some of them aren't so little anymore. I've watched these girls grow up and they are becoming beautiful young women. Merry Christmas, girls.

Girls: Merry Christmas, Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss with girls: Thank you so much, girls, for coming and helping us tell the Christmas story from the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke here on Revive Our Hearts today.

I'm going to start reading, and then different ones of you are going to help me tell the story as we have different characters in the Christmas story. I just want us to listen and be encouraged and to remember what it was like on that very first Christmas.

*"Now this is how Jesus the Messiah was born. God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, 'Greetings, favored woman. The Lord is with you.'

"Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 'Don't be frightened, Mary,' the angel told her. 'For God has decided to bless you. You will become pregnant and have a son. You are to name Him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David, and He will reign over Israel forever. His kingdom will never end.'

"Mary asked the angel, 'But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.'

"The angel replied, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby born to you will be holy, and He will be called the Son of God. What's more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age. People used to say she was barren, but she is already in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.'

"Mary responded, 'I am the Lord's servant, and I am willing to accept whatever He wants. May everything you have said come true.' And then the angel left.

"While she was still a virgin, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph her fiancé, being a just man, decided to break the engagement quietly so as not to disgrace her publicly. As he considered this, he fell asleep and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.

"'Joseph, son of David,' the angel said. 'Do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary, for the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.'

"All of this happened to fulfill the Lord's message through His prophet. 'Look, the virgin will conceive a child. She will give birth to a son; and He will be called Immanuel, meaning God is with us.' When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded.

"A few days later, Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary's greeting, Elizabeth's child leaped within her and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

"Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, 'You are blessed by God above all other women and your child is blessed. What an honor this is that the mother of my Lord should visit me! When you came in and greeted me, my baby jumped for joy the instant I heard your voice. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said.'

"Mary responded, 'Oh, how I praise the Lord! How I rejoice in God my Savior! For He took notice of His lowly servant girl, and now generation after generation will call me blessed. For He, the mighty One, is holy. And He has done great things for me.'

"Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months, and then went back to her own home. At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire.

"All returned to their own towns to register for the census. Because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David's ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancé, who was obviously pregnant by this time.

"While they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped Him snugly in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.

"That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them. The radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them, 'Don't be afraid.'

"He said, 'I bring you good news of great joy for everyone. The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David. This is how you will recognize Him: you will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth.'

"Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast host of others--the armies of heaven, praising God. 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.' When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, 'Come on, let's go to Bethlehem. Let's see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'

"They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherd's story were astonished, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.

"The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem asking, 'Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We have seen His star as it arose, and we have come to worship Him.'

"Herod was deeply disturbed by their question, as was all of Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law. 'Where do the prophets say the Messiah would be born?' he asked them.

"'In Bethlehem,' they said. 'For this is what the prophet wrote: "O Bethlehem of Judah, you are not just a lowly village in Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for My people Israel."'

"Then Herod sent a private message to the wise men, asking them to come see him. At this meeting he learned the exact time when they first saw the star. Then he told them, 'Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship Him, too.'

"After this interview, the wise men went their way. Once again, the star appeared to them, guiding them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house where the child and His mother Mary were, and they fell down before Him and worshipped Him.

"Then they opened their treasure chests and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But when it was time to leave, they went home another way because God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod."

Well, the story we've just read is one of the most wonderful stories of all time. It's true, and it's the story of the first Christmas.

There are so many things I love about that story. I love how Mary just said that she was willing for God to use her so she could be the mother of the Christ, the Messiah. I love the way that the shepherds were so surprised when the angels came and told them the story that the Christ had been born. Nobody thought very highly of shepherds in those days. They were just taking care of some dirty, smelly sheep. But they were some of the very first to know that Jesus had been born.

But I'll tell you, one of my favorite parts is the part we read at the very end. It says that when the wise men came and saw the mother and Joseph and the baby in the manger, what did they do? Catherine?

Catherine: They worshipped Him.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: They worshipped Him. And then what did they do, Margo?

Margo: They offered Him gifts.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: They gave Him gifts. Do you know that still today when we come to know how wonderful Jesus is we want to worship Him and we want to give Him gifts--the gift of our love and our praise and our adoration and our obedience.

So at the end of this special Christmas program, I'd like to ask us all to just bow our hearts before the Lord. And I want to give each of you (who want to) a chance to just say a brief prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord. Thank Him for Christmas. Thank Him for sending Jesus to us.

Girl #1: Lord, thank You for sending Your Son to die on the cross for us. Amen.

Girl #2: Thank You for Your Son as Your best gift. He was Your only Son.

Girl #3: Thank You, Lord, for sending Your Son and letting Him die on the cross for our sins; otherwise, we would live as sinners for all of our lives and we would go to hell for the rest of our lives. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Girl #4: Lord, I thank You that we can know that there is a special gift waiting for us up in heaven and that there was One who already came to save us all.

Girl #5: Dear Lord, I thank You that You sent Your Son to die for us, and that one day we can be with You in heaven.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Father, we do thank You for Jesus. Like those wise men today, we want to come and worship You. You are so great and You are so good. We worship Christ our Savior. And we give You the gift of our love and our obedience and all of our hearts we give to You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Leslie Basham: What great prayers for Christmas Day. I hope you'll take some time today to worship our Savior. Would you also take some time today to pray for the ministry of Revive Our Hearts?Did you realize that there's no better way to help us reach women with God's truth than to pray for us? If you'd be willing to help in this way, would you write and tell us?

Don't forget about the matching gift opportunity going on now until the end of the year. A friend of the ministry has offered to match any financial gift given in the month of December up to $150,000. Would you consider what you can give? You can mail your contribution or visit our Web site, ReviveOurHearts.com.

Did you know that all poinsettia plants don't necessarily turn red? Tomorrow we'll hear about a little girl who discovered that it's in the dark times that we sometimes bloom. Please join us for Revive Our Hearts. *"The Christmas Story" (from Christmas By the Hearth, 1996, Tyndale House Publishers).

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.