What's inside

Have you ever wondered about the origins of Christmas and the traditions celebrated in Western cultures? What about the myth of the jolly, old fellow who flies with incredible speed in a sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer? Or the story of St. Nicholas of Myra and his remarkable generosity? And, what about those fantastic events surrounding the Nativity? Are they trustworthy or just fanciful stories. In this nine lesson study, you will:

  • Learn the true stories about Santa and St. Nicholas

  • Dig deeply into the Bible accounts about Jesus' birth

  • Learn why Jesus' birth is the most remarkable miracle

What others say about Unwrapping the First Christmas

“Dr. Cooper has mixed real life and family-minded encouragement with thorough historical and scientific research in order to bring a rich and transformational turn on the implications of the incarnation. For the faithful and the skeptic, for the scholar and the parent, here is miracle and reality as our Father surely intended.”

Dr. Neal F. Brower, Western District Superintendent, Evangelical Free Church of America

"This study is a must for every Christian. Dr. Michael Cooper, unwraps beautifully the true meaning of celebrating Christmas. The study gives the clear understanding of the festival called Christmas to the lay people and an in-depth study to the theologians. It uncovers the myths associated with Christmas and leads us to the true meaning of the first Christmas in Bethlehem.”

Pastor Vinod Abraham, Founder and President, SEWA, Punjab, India

"I knew I needed this study after I failed the 10 multi-choice questionnaire on the Christmas story facts that is at the beginning of the course! I have been an Anglican minister here in New Zealand for 30 years. Anglicans really know how to do Christmas with the season of Advent, lots of ‘nine lessons and carols’ services, midnight Christmas services, etc. Somehow I had never thought about the facts that surround the season of Christmas and the traditions that have somehow attached themselves to the celebration of Jesus’s birth. I think the wonder of this book is that it takes you back to what Christmas is really about – God becoming a man and living among us.”

Rev. Gradon Harvey, National Director for North-South, Anglican Minister, New Zealand

Study Guide Outline

We invite you into a special season to reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ. Whether this is the first time you've heard the Christmas story or you've grown up hearing it since childhood, you will be blessed to learn more about the most remarkable miracle to has ever taken place.

  • 1

    Welcome to a study of the first Christmas

  • 2

    How well do you know the Christmas story?

    • How well do you know the Christmas story?

    • Take the Christmas story Quiz

    • How'd you do?

  • 3

    The myth of the Santa story

    • The myth of the Santa story

    • What do you think?

    • Watch with your Children - Santa Claus is Coming to Town

  • 4

    The story of St. Nicholas

    • The story of St. Nicholas

    • What do you think?

  • 5

    The Pagan origins of traditional Christmas

    • The Pagan origins of traditional Christmas

    • What do you think?

  • 6

    The date of Jesus' birth

    • The date of Jesus' birth

    • What do you think?

  • 7

    The nativity in Luke's gospel

    • The nativity in Luke's gospel

    • What do you think?

    • Watch with your Children - The birth of Jesus

  • 8

    The star of Bethlehem in Matthew's gospel

    • The Star of Bethlehem in Matthew's gospel

    • What do you think?

    • Watch with your Children - The Little Drummer Boy

  • 9

    A Christmas devotional for the family

    • A Christmas devotional for the family

    • Week One

    • Noel - Chris Tomlin and Lauren Daigle

    • Week Two

    • Breathe of Heaven - Amy Grant

    • Week Three

    • Baby Boy - For King & Country

    • Week Four

    • Now That I've Held Him in My Arms - Michael Card

    • Watch with your Children on Christmas Morning - The Story of Jesus

  • 10

    A baby changes everything

    • Conclusion - A baby changes everything

    • A baby changes everything - Faith Hill

    • What do you think?

  • 11

    Further Study

    • The Christmas Quiz - Answers

    • Before you go...

    • Resources

  • 12

    Next Steps...

    • Want to go further? Here's what's next.

    • Invite us to speak

    • More resources for you

Go deeper in your understanding this Christmas

The study guide includes

  • Nine on-demand video lessons plus bonus features

  • Accessibility 24/7 from your phone, tablet, or computer

  • Personal and group reflection questions to help you digest and apply the content

  • Discussion forums to do theology in a community with others around the world including the author

  • A four-week family Christmas devotional focusing on the true meaning of the season

  • Plus, a free e-book download of Unwrapping the First Christmas

Unwrapping the First Christmas

The e-book is free when you sign up for the course. Or you can click the buy now button to order the paperback.

"Wow! This is a book we need to read if we want to dig deep into the historical and factual account of the first Christmas. I honestly thought I already had a good understanding of the Christmas narratives until I got to answer the questionnaires at the beginning of this book. The family devotional at the end is also very helpful. I would say this is a must-read book for every Christian. It's easy to read that when I started reading, I didn't stop until I finished." - Bishop Chito Ramos

Make this year a Christmas to remember

Learn the true story about Jesus' birth and celebrate the most wonderful time of the year

Meet the author

Michael brings a wealth of Bible expertise to introduce you to the most significant event in human history.

Professor of Missiological Theology

Michael T. Cooper

Dr. Cooper earned a PhD in Intercultural Studies with a focus on religious movements and a minor in theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He currently serves as a missiologist for a missions agency where he focuses on missiological research and equipping missionaries for effective cultural engagement. He has thirty years of missions experience, including ten years as a pioneer church planter in Romania after the fall of communism and has equipped church planters and leaders in Africa, Europe, North America, South America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. He has written and contributed to more than 30 books and academic articles and has presented conference lectures at the London School of Economics, University of Bordeaux, Loyola University, Baylor University, and many others. His recent book, Ephesiology: The Study of the Ephesian Movement is a best seller at William Carey Publishing.