The Christmas story in Revelation 12.
An enormous red dragon appears from its gloomy lair. A jeweled crown adorn each of its seven heads and ten horns stick out from its scaly skin. A long, powerful tail sweeps across the heavens causing massive destruction. Swooping down, the dragon appears in front of a woman clothed with the sun. She is pregnant and crying out in pain. Caught in the most vulnerable of positions, unable to defend herself, the terrified woman can only watch as the dragon awaits the arrival of the new baby. Hungrily, the dragon licks it lips in anticipation, ready to devour the baby the moment it is born.
Are you familiar with this Christmas story? Do you remember how it ends?
In one of the most dramatic rescues that rivals any suspense movie, including the latest Hobbit movie now being shown on thousands of screens, the child is snatched away from God and a great war ensues in the heavens. The great dragon is defeated and hurled to the earth. But the story doesn’t end there. The dragon attempts to pursue the woman who gave birth. Helped by the wings of a great eagle and natural forces, the woman is rescued.
It’s a great Christmas story. I can only imagine what parents would think if they saw their Sunday School children re-enact the 12th chapter from the book of Revelation for the Christmas pageant this season. Instead of three wise men, young boys would be an enormous red dragon. Instead of the pristine Mary holding a baby doll wrapped in swaddling clothes, the young girl would pretend to give birth in front of a snarling dragon, then sprint away in terror from the ferocious beast.
I’m confident the pastor would be receive a number of angry phone calls from shocked grandmothers.
Outside the physical realm of shepherds, the innkeepers, and wise men, there is a spiritual realm that is difficult for us to fathom. The veil of a hidden spiritual dimension is lifted and we peak inside. Perhaps Revelation 12 is not intended to be the Christmas story, nor is the woman a picture of the virgin Mary, but the child is Jesus Christ and the red dragon is the devil. Perhaps there is a story behind the story when we consider the spiritual realm behind Christ’s birth. No wonder the chorus of angels burst forth in celebrative song. They were not only rejoicing over the arrival of the Christ child, they may have also been celebrating a great victory in the heavenly realm. Satan was defeated! Victory is assured. Jesus, the promised Messiah, had come to save the world from the tyranny of death and sin.
In the days counting down to Christmas, we can give pause and thanks to the precious gift given to us.
Prayer: “O Lord, with Christmas only days away, we ask you to bless us with repentant hearts and a Christ-centered focus. Rekindle our joy and wonder as we prepare to celebrate your birth. Let nothing rob us of Your peace or deprive us of precious time pondering the real reason for Christmas. Shield us and our families from the stressful “busyness” of this season and fill us with the quiet delight of finding You and Your unconditional love – lying in a manger. Be with those among us who are enduring sorrow or undergoing some spiritual trial this season. Comfort us all with knowledge of Your certain return to take us home to heaven. Keep us spiritually vigilant and protect us from the distractions of life that turn our attention away from the Message. Use us to strengthen others by sharing the light of Your saving grace with them. Let our lives reflect Your love, peace and joy so the world may know You and the saving hope You alone can give.