At some point in the near future, I will return to my plan as discussed in “A Biblical Response to the Ecumenical Monoculture” and then quickly transition into another topic that I am rather anxious to discuss. However, until then I want to offer a couple reflections on the Scriptures and Christmas. Below is on of my favorite passages about the birth of Christ and brief reflections on it.
1And 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. 2She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. 3And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. 4His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. 5She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, Revelation 12:1-5
The woman, the nation of Israel, is being tormented and pursued by a great red dragon, Satan, who seeks to devour her child, Jesus Christ. All the nations will be subject to the absolute and universal rule of Christ. The latter part of verse five speaks of Christ crushing Satan’s rebellion and ascending into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, Acts 2:24, Hebrews 1:3). The birth of Christ does not represent the birth of a cute and giggly child. The birth of Christ represents the coming of The King to crush Satan’s rebellion and take back His kingdom by force. This was, and still is, a war and Satan knew it. Herod too feared the birth of The King and though Christ was just a child he too was determined to destroy Him (Matthew 2:13-16).
I love the line in “O Little Town of Bethlehem” that says, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” Too often, I sing this hymn and miss the sheer weight of these few words. The hopes and fears of all eternity, everyone who has ever lived, are met in Christ. He meets our hope in that for our sake God made Christ, who knew no sin, sin so that in Christ we might become the righteousness of God (II Corinthians 5:21). However, as we sing this joyous hymn it comes with the sobering reminder that the birth of Christ is the fulfillment of an eternity of fears, many of which are yet to be recognized. May we never forget that the birth of Christ represents the coming of The King, to whom we must submit, and may this drive us to die reaching the world for Christ, that they too might rejoice in Him.