A Non Traditional Christmas Story

by Linda Strickland
Dec 2008

I love the Christmas season. The whole world seems to take on a special glow—enhanced by all of the sparkle and glitter, the twinkling lights and the shiny wrapping paper covering carefully selected gifts. It’s the time of year that we entertain family and friends, and make a special effort to call or send greeting cards to people we hold dear in our hearts.

We, as Christians, also celebrate Christmas by re-enacting the birth of Jesus with church pageants and lawns decorated with manger scenes and lighted choirs of angels.

It is truly a joyful and happy time of year.

Some time ago, someone gave me a lapel pin that read “Jesus is the Greatest Gift of All.” I couldn’t agree more. As a matter of fact, my husband and I decided to drop out of the “frantic shoppers club” several years ago. We buy a few things, but for the most part, we just simply enjoy the season with visits and special meals with family and friends. It has also become our custom to “ring the bell” for the Salvation Army, and buy a few toys for children who, would otherwise, not have anything under the tree on Christmas morning.

Reading the Christmas Story in Luke chapter 2 has always been our tradition on Christmas Eve, but a few years ago, I was encouraged to read Revelation 12 in its place. This powerful chapter opened my eyes to the intense warfare that must have been going on in the spiritual realm, during the birth of our Lord Jesus.

I love all of the characters in the Christmas story: Mary and Joseph, the farm animals, the shepherds, the wise men, the host of angels, and of course baby Jesus. But to be honest with you, I had never thought about warring angels, demons and dragons as characters in the story as well. But surely they were there too. A fierce battle took place that Christmas night as the Savior of the world was being born.

And so—I invite you to read this astounding passage of scripture as an added account of the Christmas Story. Although this passage is from the Book of Revelation, it is a convincing image of what most likely took place (between heaven and hell) on that splendid Christmas night.

Revelation 12 (NLT)

The Woman and the Dragon

Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth.

Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born.

She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days.

Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.

Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,

“It has come at last—
salvation and power
and the Kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters
has been thrown down to earth—
the one who accuses them
before our God day and night.
And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much
that they were afraid to die.
Therefore, rejoice, O heavens!
And you who live in the heavens, rejoice!
But terror will come on the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you in great anger,
knowing that he has little time.”

When the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time.

Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from his mouth. But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.

In addition to the powerful spiritual battle this passage portrays, it is significant to recognize that we (you and me) are the children, referred to in the final sentence, which a war has been waged against.

And the battle continues….

This year, as you celebrate our Savior’s birth, I would like to encourage you to feast on God’s amazing love for you. “For God loved the world so much that he gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) NLT

Merry Christmas! And may the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Linda Strickland Linda Strickland is the Associate Director of Ministry and Assistant to Judith MacNutt. Dec 2008 Issue