We are familiar with the Christmas story in Luke 2, but there is another Christmas story in the Bible that can be just as powerful.
An enormous red dragon appears from its gloomy lair. A jeweled crown adorns 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 giving birth 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, the child is snatched away at the last moment 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 pursues the mother of the child and she is rescued by the wings of a great eagle and natural forces.
Isn’t this 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 next year’s Christmas pageant. Instead of three wise men, young boys could be an enormous red dragon. Instead of the pristine Mary holding a baby doll wrapped in swaddling clothes, the young girl would give birth in front of a snarling dragon then sprint away in terror from the ferocious beast.
Perhaps Revelation 12 is not intended to be a 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 this story when we consider the spiritual realm behind Christ’s birth.
If the pastor used this version next Christmas, he would probably receive a number of angry phone calls from shocked mothers and grandparents.
Outside the physical realm of shepherds, innkeepers, and wise men, there is a spiritual realm that is difficult for us to fathom. For one shining moment, the veil of a hidden spiritual dimension is lifted, and we peak inside. We see a chorus of angels bursting forth in song and 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.
Now that Christmas day is in our rear view mirror, we can pause again and give thanks to the precious gift that God has given to us.
Prayer: “O Lord, now that Christmas is over, we ask you to bless us with repentant hearts and a Christ-centered focus. Rekindle our joy and wonder in the year ahead. Let nothing rob us of your peace or deprive us of precious time spent pondering your grace. Be with those who are enduring sorrow or undergoing difficult trials.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 God’s promises. Use us to strengthen others by sharing the light of your saving grace. Let our lives reflect your love and peace so the world may know the saving hope that only you can give. In your name we pray, Amen.