Several years ago at the church I served at in Toledo, we presented a short Christmas teaching series that I think may have been called “The Invasion.” I’d like to sort of recycle that series here this week in the hope that it will prepare us for Christmas, not the Santa Claus and elves one nor even the one represented in the crèches most Christians set up in our homes. No, another view of the Nativity.
The Bible is clear on something many of us don’t think much about: the reality of the spirit realm. We wake up and get the kids ready for school and drive to work where we dutifully perform tasks then return home and get dinner ready and watch some TV before going back to bed, all the while unaware that we do all this in the midst of a battlefield between Satan’s evil minions and God’s angelic forces. (God is the Lord of Hosts, or as the New Living Translation renders: the God of the Angel Armies.) And the territory each side looks to acquire is not real estate but our very souls. As Christians we are not caught in the crossfire but are, in fact, the targets—as we’ll see.
As we look at the Nativity not in the physical but in the spiritual, I’d like you to do two things:
- Read Revelation 12. To this point in my “Closer Look” feature, I don’t know if I’ve asked you to actually read the texts I draw from (usually a good idea), but I’d like you to do that here.
- Watch this clip from Saving Private Ryan (below). Looking back, I can’t believe we showed this clip on a Sunday morning (we only used the first two minutes), but we wanted (and I want) you to understand what occurred on that “silent night.” The “little town of Bethlehem” did not slumber in peace that night but was the battleground for an invasion of God’s forces into enemy territory, much like the landing at Omaha Beach on D-Day, as illustrated in the movie.
“The heavenly pageant of Revelation 12 shows that Christ’s lowly birth in the town of Bethlehem had cosmic significance.” —Life Application Notes
Join me as we learn more about the woman and the dragon, the war that waged while wise men from the East traversed field and fountain, moor and mountain; while shepherds still in awe of the angels’ words (and the very fact that they had seen angels) sought the newborn King; while Joseph looked for a place to lay his stepson and tend to exhausted Mary; and while the Son of God, having forsaken his rights as God, the very Word Made Flesh, breathed in the smoggy air of Earth burdened by sin.
I’m not sure what the schedule will be for my posts this week, so if you haven’t already, follow me on Twitter for updates.