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How the Christmas Story Affirms Women

Updated on November 21, 2017
MsDora profile image

For MsDora—teacher, counselor, mother, and grandmother—holidays and family make the perfect blend for good times and pleasant memories.

The Genesis account of Eve’s disobedience as the first sin is at the root of some religious and cultural teachings which consider women subhuman.However, judging from the Christmas story, those who blame Eve for the cause of sin should also credit the Virgin Mary for being the vessel of God's grace.

See how the Christmas story cancels the reasons for discriminating against women, and how it actually affirms them.

The Christmas Story

Live Nativity scene at St. Wojciech church, Wyszków, Poland - Photo by Ejdzej
Live Nativity scene at St. Wojciech church, Wyszków, Poland - Photo by Ejdzej | Source

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. . .

An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. . . And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” — Matthew 1: 18-21

For Consideration

  • What does it say about the spiritual standing of women that God sends the Savior through the birth canal of a woman (without involving a man)?
  • By bestowing honor on the woman as His vessel of choice, does He not cancel the stigma of the woman’s dishonor?
  • Do not the four truths expressed in the following sub-headings give women reason to trust the opinion of God about them, over the opinion of those who think negatively about them?

(1) The Christmas Story Boosts the Woman's Significance

Matthew’s account of the genealogy of Jesus includes four women who would not have been handpicked by those who propagate the vices of women.

  • (1) Tamar, twice married before she slept with the father of her two husbands and bore him a child;
  • (2) Rahab, the reputed prostitute from Jericho;
  • (3) Ruth, the widow from Moab where worship of false gods was the order of the day;
  • (4) Bathsheba, the adulterer who conceived a child for her king while her husband was in the army, fighting on behalf of the said king.

These women bore children who featured in the genealogy of Jesus; whereby, giving them significance they did not previously achieve. Then, from their offspring came Jesus who was born to save them and the rest of mankind.

Although society gives more weight to the crimes of female prostitutes and adulterers than to the crimes of their male partners, Jesus (born of a woman) does not discriminate in his offer of salvation and redemption. What an honor for the immoral and pagan women in His genealogy--and for all women!

(2) The Christmas Story Features Female Support

The Visitation (Elizabeth (left) visited by Mary) by artist Philippe de Champaigne
The Visitation (Elizabeth (left) visited by Mary) by artist Philippe de Champaigne | Source

In the gospel of Luke, the Christmas story (Luke 1) brings together two women supporting each other in the greatest event ever, while their men disqualified themselves by their doubt.

Elizabeth and Mary display a female-support model from which modern day women can learn that although women cannot substitute for men, they provide adequate support in the absence of men.

The women spend three months together. We can only imagine what they talked about—the strange circumstances surrounding their pregnancies, the reaction of their bodies, the responses of their men, the implication of the angel’s visit, and his message of faith that “Nothing is impossible with God” (37).

In the Christmas story, God brings an old woman and a young woman together to affirm, bless and honor each other. The Christmas story presents an example which teaches female friends and relatives the significance of celebrating of each other. No probing, no criticizing, no condemning, just supporting like Elizabeth and Mary.

(3) It Teaches Women How to Respond to God's Favor

Rendition of the The Magnificat

In response to Elizabeth’s blessing, Mary bursts into song (now known as The Magnificat). She expresses praise to God and then utters words which tempers honor with humility.

“For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed” (48)

Lest any woman begins to feel that God’s favor on women is a reason to boast or to treat men with condescension, Mary reminds us that her position is one of service. Even when God uses the woman, her attitude is not to be that she is indispensable to Him, but that she is grateful for the opportunity of working in partnership with Him. Mary recognizes the honor that future generations will give to her, but the credit does not go to a servant girl.

“For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me” (49).

The rest of her song is all about the mighty deeds that God has accomplished. The response of Mary is the response from women everywhere who recognize that God has use for them. Only God can elevate women beyond what they seem to be, to what He determines they should be. The only boast they can have is about how good, loving, merciful and unpredictable He is in the lives of women.

(4) The Story Celebrates Womahood

"Mary, Did You Know?" by Pentatonix

Most Christmas sermons highlight salvation from sin, and they should; but the story also features salvation from stereotypical opinions about women and their status--in the community and in the church.

  • Christmas presents the equal opportunity right of women in God’s plan for salvation and redemption.
  • It highlights the equal worth of the individual woman whether she is a redeemed prostitute like Rahab or an honorable woman like the Virgin Mary.
  • It celebrates the call of a barren old woman (Elizabeth) to begin something new (producing John, the forerunner of the Messiah).
  • It celebrates the call of a pure, young woman (Mary) being chosen as a vessel of honor to participate in God's solution for an old problem (sin).
  • It gives today's woman an opportunity to re-enact the female support between Elizabeth and Mary; to share comfort and compassion when the men are absent or preoccupied; to remind each other of how special each woman is to God.

The Christmas story is a demonstration of God’s enduring love for both women and men; still, be understanding if women react with excessive joy to the blessings of the Christmas season!


Scripture references in this article are from the New Living Translation unless otherwise noted.

© 2012 Dora Weithers

Comments

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    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Tammy. Interesting that Christmas is a story of empowerment for women. I appreciate your comment.

    • tammyfrost profile image

      Tammy Frost 

      3 years ago from Oregon

      Interesting Hub this is.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Jackie, your attitude shows wisdom. We all have our assignments, and the credit goes to grace, not gender. Thanks for your input.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      God created us both; male and female and He can do no wrong yet I am willing to take whatever place God puts me. Satan has used men against woman through the centuries to cause trouble and all we need do is be willing vessels and stop worrying about who God will choose to use for we know He will use all who are willing.

      Glad I came across this. ^+

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Tasha. Merry Christmas to you and yours as you celebrate Christmas and Womanhood!

    • Tashaonthetown profile image

      Natasha Pelati 

      3 years ago from South Africa

      This was such a beautiful read! Thank you I found it very interesting and moving.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Ubrish, so happy you like the article. Have a happy 2014 Christmas!

    • ubrish profile image

      ubrish ali 

      3 years ago from Pakistan(Asia)

      So lovely topic for me about Christmas and women

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      DDE, I just wish that we paid more attention to what Christmas really means to us women. Thanks for your comment.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The Christmas Story and What It Means to Womanhood a great insight to life and of God.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Laurel. God is indeed loving to the entire human race, and women must not forget that they are included.

    • profile image

      Laurel 

      5 years ago

      Profound article, thanks Dora for this beautiful insight. I hope many others read this aricle and see how Loving our God is and how He went out of His way to break the stereotypical barriers against women.

      Keep up the good work

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, for your input, FSlovence. I recognize your sermonette as a great expansion to the hub. Blessings!

    • FSlovenec profile image

      Frank Slovenec 

      5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      God loves all people ... He died for all people... Esther, Ruth, Mary, Elizabeth, women at the tomb, Naomi, Deborah, the reality is Adam,a s typical for us did not take responsibility for his actions, he blamed on Eve.. on Law and Order this would be the twinkie defense... Paul elevated women, Jesus recognized the women bleeding who touched Him in Jewish law she should have been stoned.. Mary Magdalene Jesus recognized men had to be involved in the sin and yet the men wanted to stone her..how did they know..did Jesus know that one of them or more were involved..the value is how much someone will pay..Jesus paid the price for all us!

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Brenda. for reading and sharing. Women need all the affirmation and empowerment they can get. Christmas is as good a time as any for that.

    • profile image

      Brenda R. 

      5 years ago

      Very inspirational...I've shared this with the Women's Ministries group at church...I'm hopeful they will get as much out of it as it did.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      And I appreciate your comment, ChaplainPat. Thank You.

    • profile image

      ChaplainPat 

      5 years ago

      Thank you for your beautiful article about women. As always, I appreciate your words.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      FSlovenec, I appreciate your comment and I share your love of Christmas. Thanks.

    • FSlovenec profile image

      Frank Slovenec 

      5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      WOW this is so good! Women are very important to God anyone who discounts their importance and relates it to the Bible, is twisting God's Word. Purity for men and women is significant to God..I love Christmas; your Hub reminds me of an entirely new dimension of Christmas which makes me love it even more... Thank you

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Teacher Joe, your affirmation means much to me. Thank you and His love to you also.

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 

      5 years ago

      Good morning Ms Dora.

      I agree. It was through woman that sin entered the world, it was through woman salvation entered the world. I also believe the book Mary wrote was left out of the Bible because of male bias.

      May Jesus' sweet love envelope you toady and every day.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Deborah. Yes, God loves us women and this is the season to celebrate His love for us.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Ms Dora this is beautiful.. I am so glad you wrote about this.. I studied on this.. You Know God is so good .. He loves us women.. He takes us just the way we are.. He knows our hearts. God Bless you Ms Dora .. I will share this on prayer request page

      Debbie

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