The Christmas Battle
The Christmas Battle – A Devotional
by Larry Baker, CVCS Superintendent
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:13 – 14
At my house, I’m in charge of the outside Christmas decorations. This year that task took me 73 seconds. I hung a wreath on the hook below our kitchen window and plugged in a spotlight. I’m not lazy, I just like things simple. I used to have a neighbor who had a dozen blow-up characters spread all over his lawn, some were tied to trees and light posts. Each morning, they were all either sideways or upside down, most of them deflated. Simple is better – much better in my opinion.
My wife takes care of the interior. Over the years, my favorite decoration has always been the nativity scene, spread out on a coffee table, complete with Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, a shepherd, some wise men, and a few animals. Above and behind the table, but still very much part of the scene are a few angels. One has a trumpet, one a harp; there is one with a dove in hand, and a fourth just kind of hovering above the scene. It’s attractive and looks very peaceful.
When you read Luke’s account, that is the picture you get. The baby is wrapped nicely and lying in a manger. Mary is there, and of course Joseph. The angels surprise some shepherds out in a field, but still manage to convince them to come and join the manger scene. According to Luke, the angels then leave and go back to heaven. It all seems very peaceful – kind of like a lone wreath on the front of a house, lit up with a warmly glowing spotlight.
But when the dust settles, when the swords are dropped and the fighting ceases, there is a throne. On the throne, there is a Lamb. The Lamb is slain, but the Lamb lives. The slain Lamb rules.
Hold that peaceful thought for a minute. I invite you to consider, with me, where those angels really went. Angels are real. They exist. They do things. But what did they do after they ushered the shepherds to the stable?
Many Christians discipline themselves to read the Bible in a year. If you do that by starting with Genesis and slogging through each book and chapter, divided so that you’re finished by the end of December, you end up reading Revelations right at Christmastime. There is not enough time in these few minutes of classroom devotions to read from both Revelations and Luke, but sometime consider reading Luke 2 followed by Revelations 12. John, the author of Revelations, reveals a different Christmas picture, not quite as peaceful as Luke’s hillside story.
Satan and his cohorts did not want this Messiah to come. They tried, unsuccessfully, to prevent his existence. Satan used Herod, dragons and beasts to fight the battle. God used angels, wise men and shepherds. I can just picture the angels fighting this valiant battle with dragons and beasts, stopping for a minute, heading over to where the shepherds were tending their sheep, making a glorious announcement, then returning to do battle. I wonder if it would be appropriate to add a big ugly red dragon to our peaceful scene in the living room.
I know I don’t have a full grasp of the meaning and symbolism of Revelations, but when I read it I gain a sense of peace. There are wars, battles, beasts and dragons. There is blood, plagues, death and destruction. There is persecution and judgment. There is lots of gory stuff. But when the dust settles, when the swords are dropped and the fighting ceases, there is a throne. On the throne, there is a Lamb. The Lamb is slain, but the Lamb lives. The slain Lamb rules.
He tried, but Satan could not thwart God’s plan. He could not stop Jesus from being born. Herod tried to kill him along with all the other toddlers, but he was not successful. Satan tried again in the wilderness but his temptations were not enough. Satan and all his demons tried hard, all the way to the cross, but they did not succeed. When Christ arose, Satan lost the war. He was defeated. John, in Revelation, assures us of that victory.
I still like that manger scene and the peace that it portrays. I like that God chose Mary to bear his Son. I like that Joseph resolutely and loyally stuck by Mary’s side. I love that the inn was full so that God could choose shepherds to be first on the scene. I like how God sent angels to those shepherds. He sent angels, who could have been fighting dragons, to shepherds, who spent hours alone, tending sheep on quiet hillsides. I just love how God orchestrated the whole thing to perfection.
This Christmas season, take time. Take time to listen. Find some solitude and read Luke 2. Follow that up with Revelation 12. Put away the shopping, decorating, baking and all the busyness for a while. Prepare. Prepare the way for Jesus. Worship the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior, the Lamb.
Eternal God, Holy Spirit, and Sovereign Lord – you defeated dragons, beasts and Satan himself. You were born on a hillside, lived a perfect life and died on a cross. The grave could not hold you and you conquered even death. You did that all for us. Your grace is amazing. Your love is immense. How can we ever thank you? Dwell in us, Lord Jesus, and may your love shine through us. Amen.
The gift of Christmas–the gift of Jesus is one that can be given all year-round. To find out more about how our school is rooted in God’s word, click here or email us at email@example.com.