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Important Firststable

By James Loftin


 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.

Luke 2:6-7a



The nativity narrative is full of firsts. Mary’s firstborn, the first NOEL (“Christmas”), the first witnesses to the incarnation, and the first human messengers of the Good News of the Messiah’s birth.


Virgin Mary had seen births and held infants, but she had never had the experience herself.


The angels had worshipped the LORD for eons, but they had never seen God incarnate. They were moved to sing praise in a new way.


The shepherds were accustomed to gazing at the stars, but they had never seen a star like this. Nor had they experienced anything like the sensory stretching angelic announcement.


Holy, eternal God had loved humanity since the creation of Adam and Eve, but now God took on humanness in order to communicate and demonstrate redemptive love in a new way. A first.


One December a Chinese friend asked me to read him something out of the Bible, a passage about Christmas. "Ok, I'll read in English, but you read it in Chinese first."


After he finished reading Luke 2:1-20, he kept looking down at the Chinese Bible. When he looked up, I began to read the same verses in English as he followed along. "In those days Caesar Augustus..."


As I reached verses 17 and 18, I began to choke up, "...they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed..." I was overwhelmed with the power and truth of the Word, and also my knowledge that this 30-year-old brilliant scholar was hearing these words for the first time.


"So what do you think?" I asked.


"It's very interesting," he replied.

"Have you heard this story before?"


"No. I have heard of Jesus, but I did not know about the sheep or Mary or the angels."


After looking at the passage a few more seconds, he asked a somewhat rhetorical question. "This is an important story, isn't it?"


With a smile, I responded, "The most important!"


This was the first time my Chinese friend had heard the story of God coming to earth in love. An important first.


The birth of our Savior happened 2012 years ago and yet billions have not heard the news sung by the angels and proclaimed by the shepherds.


When and how did you first hear that Good News?


Who are those in your city that have never really heard the old, old story for the very first time? There are over 2 billion people who wait in darkness, totally unaware that God loves them so much that He came to earth.


To whom can you graciously share this life-giving message with this Christmas?


Your prayers and support make it possible for others to go places you cannot go with the message of Christmas for the first time.


Lord, please use us this week to communicate the Birth for the first time to thousands, both near and far. Perhaps that is what you really "want" for Christmas. AMEN.


About the Author 


James Loftin is the founder and president of FollowOne International. Over the past 25 years James has served as mission pastor in three congregations and as the director of missions at Asbury Theological Seminary in Orlando. James and his wife Carolyn have three adult children and four super grandkids. James and Carolyn live in Winter Springs, Florida.


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