Everyone loves the Christmas story—Mary meeting an angel, being told she’s having a baby by the Holy Spirit, Joseph faithfully standing by her, travelling to Bethlehem while Mary is heavily pregnant, no room at the inn, the baby in a manger, God in human flesh, choirs of angels, shepherds on the hillside, Magi following a star.
But the Christmas story is not just a great story. It’s the great story. It’s the story that ties together a thousand other stories. Everything came together on that night in Bethlehem. “The fulfilment of the ages,” Paul calls it.
Matthew can’t get the old stories out of his head as he tells the Christmas story. Five times he says that what happened at the birth of Jesus took place to fulfil what the prophets had said (Matthew 1 v 22-23; 2 v 5-6, 15, 17-18, 23). Luke makes the same point in the four songs he records.The songs of Mary, Zechariah, the angels and Simeon all riff on “tunes” from the past. Mary ends her song with the words,“He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants for ever, just as he promised our ancestors” (Luke 1 v 54-55). As the carol O Little Town of Bethlehem says, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight”.
The Christmas story is the one true story because it completes and fulfils all the stories of the Bible.
But it also goes on being the one true story.This is the story that makes sense of my story and your story.We were made to know God. All our longings only truly find their fulfilment in him and through him.The plotlines of our lives are meant to find their resolution in the enjoyment of God. But we’ve set our lives on other trajectories which always lead to disappointing endings.
But through the Christmas story God is rewriting the story of human history, bringing it to a glorious climax. In all the busyness of Christmas, don’t miss the opportunity to discover or rediscover how you can be part of the one true story.