The story of Christmas is so ubiquitous that even many people who do not believe the Bible is the Word of God know it, and can even recite the verses from Luke 2 if they have seen certain cartoons enough times in their life.
Many know the details about Joseph and Mary, their journey to Jerusalem, the animals, the shepherds, and the angels. Understanding the circumstances of Jesus’ birth is important because it fulfilled prophecies from the Hebrew prophets, and also testifies to who He is.
Because Jesus came to earth as a human, with human weaknesses, He understands our struggles, and loves us. God shared His plan to redeem sinful man in what would become the Old Testament, and those who lived to see Jesus on earth wrote about what they saw. The Christmas story is part of the climax of the Bible, when God takes on flesh in order to dwell with His creation and save people from their sins.
Here are seven non-traditional Bible verses for Christmas that speak about Jesus, and the significance of His birth:
Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
After the serpent tempted Eve in the garden, God cursed the serpent to crawl on its belly. Satan had possessed the serpent, and this verse foreshadows the conflict between Jesus and Satan, good and evil, and Jesus’ eventual triumph. Jesus would be the offspring who bruised the head of the serpent. Though Jesus had to suffer to redeem humanity, He holds the ultimate victory over evil. This journey to crush the serpent began at Christmas.
Genesis 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
God made a covenant with Abraham. This covenant promised Abraham a land for his descendants, and that all people would be blessed through his children. This promise may have seemed outlandish to Abraham, who was old, and had gone many years without children. However, at 99, Abraham and his wife Sarah finally had a son, beginning the lineage that would bless all the nations, through his descendent Jesus Christ.
Daniel 7:13-14 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
Jesus took the title the Son of Man, fulfilling this prophecy from Daniel. Because Jesus obeyed the Father, even to the cross, He will reign forever. As part of the Trinity, Jesus was the Son of God, but He took on flesh to become the Son of Man as well. This vision showed Daniel how the world would be redeemed, which is the message of hope at Christmas.
John 1:9-14 “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The first chapter of John outlines who Jesus is, how He was with the Father and the Spirit from the beginning, and why He came to the world. Jesus was the Word at the beginning through which the world was created, and came to give light to everyone. In His day He was rejected and would be crucified. Christmas was the moment the Word became flesh.
Romans 5:15 “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.”
At Christmas, believers exchange gifts to remind one another of the gift that God gave humanity. Through the Lord Jesus, everyone has access to mercy, grace, forgiveness, and eternal life. Though He has to endure the cross, at Christmas, the promise of a future with Him, free from the burden of sin, is the ultimate gift.
Hebrews 4:14-16 “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
One of the miracles of Christmas is that God took on flesh. He allowed Himself to be made weak, needy, and dependent. He struggled, faced temptation, felt pain, and suffered greatly. He knows what our lives are like, and can serve as our High Priest, empathizing with us and advocating for us. He lived a blameless life, and gives us the strength to strive to be like Him, even if we fail. Fortunately, His death and resurrection mean that even when we fail, He is there to forgive and pick us up again.
Revelation 12:16-17 “‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.’ The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”
Christmas is not just about ugly sweaters, big meals, and beautiful gifts. It is not even really about a baby in a manger. It is about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the prophesied descendent of Abraham and David who will reign forever in Heaven. He offered Himself as breath and living water for those who are spiritually dead, who seek everlasting life.
The Bible is inexhaustible, and studying it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit can reveal truths and make connections someone had never noticed before. Throughout God’s Word He reveals bits and pieces of what is known as the Christmas story. Whether it is the theme of an only son, a beloved son, of the poor being used to bless many, or of innocence bearing the burden of sin for the wicked, there are many places where God hinted at the coming Messiah. As modern believers, we have the benefit of studying the Bible with the clarity of the significance of those events.
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Bethany Verrett is a freelance writer and editor. She maintains a faith and lifestyle blog graceandgrowing.com, where she muses about the Lord, life, culture, and ministry.