We're coming up to Christmas which is my favourite time of the year! As soon as December 1st comes round, my hubby and I pull out all our Christmas stuff which we haven't seen for ten months and set about decorating the house and tree.
Each year we add some more goodies to our Christmas stash and tuck them away to be surprised with when we come across them when we get everything out again – I love this! The start of December also heralds the start of Christmas movie watching and candy cane hot chocolates – yum!!
I love all the trimmings and treats of Christmas but the best bit about it is getting to celebrate the birth of Jesus with friends and family! One of the things we put up as part of our Christmas decorations is a Nativity scene that we sewed together a couple of years ago.
It has all the normal characters including the wise men (which we put half way across the table as they are still making their way to see Jesus at Christmas time), it also has a couple of classic farm animals and an angel which we position on the roof.
The one thing it does not have though is a fierce red dragon waiting to devour the baby Jesus yet this year we are going to be adding one in.
Now, I imagine some of you will be shocked that we have decided to add such a grim character to our sweet nativity scene but it actually comes straight out of the Bible in Revelation Chapter 12. (Now this would make for an unforgettable nativity play!).
John is recounting his vision in Revelation chapter 12, verses 4b-6 and says, "The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who "will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre." And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne."
This is the same nativity story we all know but looked at from a different angle – in it we see the unseen spiritual battle that was happening during Jesus' birth.
We are reminded that we have a real enemy – the devil - who seeks to destroy us but that we need not fear because the one who was born as a baby has crushed the serpents head under his heel and liberated all those who repent and trust in him.
As John goes on to say in Revelation chapter, 12 verses 10-12, "Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
"Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
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."
Amongst all the wonderful, fun things about Christmas such as candy canes, and movies, gifts, and holidays, we need to not only remember the sweet baby Jesus lying peacefully in a manger surrounded by gently lowing cattle but also the powerful Lord Jesus.
He crushed our very real enemy who seeks to destroy us has been thwarted in his attempt because Jesus' birth shattered his evil plan.
Why we don't need to shy away from the serious side of Christmas
I used to only like to think about Jesus' death and defeat of the devil at Easter time not Christmas. At Christmas I liked to just focus on the positive that Jesus was born to save us and everything was happy and positive at that point. Yet Revelation points out that even at the birth of Christ (even before King Herod came into the picture when Jesus was a toddler) everything wasn't rosy coloured and picture perfect but what I have learnt is that that's a good thing!
We can fully embrace all the aspects of Christmas because they all point to the best, most joyous story of all – the crushing of evil under Jesus' infant feet and the assurance of God's power and our salvation!
Just as the dragon is defeated and is not able to devour the baby who is born in Revelation 12 so we can rest assured that as we celebrate the wonderful news of Christ's birth we can rest assured that we are hidden in Christ and cannot be devoured either!
That is why this year we will be mixing up our sweet nativity scene by adding in a red dragon – there is an enemy but he has been defeated and nothing can thwart God's plan for his people!
Courtesy of Press Service International