Several years ago, our dad explained to us a different way to look at the nativity scene in a Christmas sermon he preached, titled, "Do you see what I see?"
At first we thought he was going to sing—which would've been a disaster—but as he preached, many pieces of the Christmas story came together in our minds.
In a typical nativity scene, you see Baby Jesus sleeping in a manger with Mary, Joseph and some shepherds and farm animals close by. It's usually warm and cozy, and maybe it even has three kings if the owner had some extra cash to buy the mac daddy set.
But what you don't see—and what isn't so warm and cozy, and might even scare the kids—is the epic spiritual battle that raged in the heavens over this very moment in history.
In Chapter 12 of John's account of the Revelation of Christ, he chronicles the great battle surrounding Christ's birth:
"A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and cried out in labor and in pain to give birth" (vv. 1-2).
"Then another sign appeared in heaven: There was a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven, and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as He was born" (vv. 3-4).
"She gave birth to a male Child, "who was to rule all nations with an iron scepter."' (v. 5).
Can you imagine a nativity set with a huge red dragon trying to chew up baby Jesus?! Nah, it wouldn't sell. But before we go any further, let's consider the scene:
The woman represents Israel (and the Israelite mother, Mary). The stars are the 12 tribes. And the baby is Jesus. The dragon represents Satan—as we later learn in Verse 9—and his desire is to destroy the Christ child. The reason is he knows baby Jesus will bring eternal salvation to mankind and provide "on earth peace, and good will toward men" (Luke 2:14b). This will eliminate Satan's power to damn the souls of men to hell forever. So he wants that baby.
Now, back to the story:
"And her Child was caught up to God and to His throne ... then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was there a place for them in heaven any longer. The great dragon was cast out, that ancient serpent called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him (vv. 5b-9).
"They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death" (v. 11).
- Faith in Christ
- Faith in Christ lived out
- Faithful to Christ whatever the cost
Jesus was born to die, to shed His blood as a lamb for our sins. By placing our faith in Him, we become His disciples and are called to live out our faith in every area of life. But it won't come easy, so we must fully surrender to Him—even in the face of death.
This is the true, biblical Christianity that fully defeats Satan's power over any and every life he tries to destroy. No wonder he's so ticked off about baby Jesus.
"Woe unto the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short" (v. 12b).
The birth of Christ numbered Satan's days. Let's finish the story:
"When the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child....Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and he went to wage war with the remnant of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (vv. 13, 17).
The battle that raged in the heavens around the nativity now rages here on earth. It's no coincidence that Christianity is the only target of attack, not other religions. Satan is warring against the only One with the power to defeat Him. He hates Jesus and any who would confess His name.
So when you see groups targeting the nativity scene this year, you'll know exactly what's happening behind the scenes.
The simple question is, "Do you see what I see?"
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