During these weeks leading up to Christmas most of us are hearing and/or reading the traditional passages of Matthew and Luke about Zechariah and Elisabeth, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and angels, and the wise men. Even though we know the passages, we are still glad to hear and consider them again as we celebrate the occasion.
There are also a number of verses in the New Testament that relate to Christmas that are non-traditional in our Christmas focus. In this post I want to highlight three of them and in the next two weeks underscore five more. None of them will replace what we have in Matthew and Luke or familiar Old Testament prophecies, but each of these less noted references can add to our Christmas celebration.
The first non-traditional Christmas passage is Galatians 4:4 and 5. Paul writes, “. . . when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption . . .” (NIV). That clearly summarizes the Christmas message, doesn’t it? I won’t elaborate on what Paul writes, but I encourage you to reflect on each phrase.
A second non-traditional Christmas verse that always reminds me of Christmas is also from the Apostle Paul. He writes in II Corinthians 8:9, “. . . you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” NIV). That’s a condensed, but clear statement about what Jesus did for us, isn’t it? Again, take some time to unpack Paul’s creative Christmas explanation.
The third and final verse in this post is much different from the first two; but to me it is especially appropriate for Christmas. In Acts 20:35 Luke records Paul citing a teaching from Jesus not included in any of the Gospels, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ ” (NIV).
The reason I think Acts 20:35 is a Christmas verse is because giving and receiving is such a large part of our Christmas celebration. Note that Jesus did not say there is no blessing in receiving, but the blessing of giving is greater. We all have been greatly blessed through receiving; not just at Christmas, but throughout our lives. Hopefully we all also have been even more blessed through our giving. It’s not an either/or, but a both/and.
This year as we revisit the beautiful Christmas passages that mean so much to us let’s allow them to warm and fill our hearts as they do each year. Perhaps we also can ponder these three non-traditional verses that I believe can also mean much to us and fill and warm our hearts during this season.
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