a different nativity

Along with spending time with family and friends, eating a meal (or two), watching football and/or going shopping this past weekend, did you get any decorating done? We did. We got everything but one tree up and we’re ready to do that when we get home this evening.

One of my favorite Christmas decorations is the nativity scene. Over the years we have had a few different ones. Now we have a whole village scene – merchant shops, live stock, the whole deal. We’ve always displayed our nativity scene in a prominent place in our home and have, at times, even hooked up special effect lighting to highlight the whole thing.

Of course all of this imagery is based on Luke’s account of the birth of Christ – the shepherds, the star, the angels, the wise men, and the stable. But there is another version. In Revelation 12 we find John’s account. It’s the same story told in Luke 2, it is just told from a little different perspective – the spiritual one. In John’s version there is a woman who gives birth to a son who “would rule the nations”. There is a dragon waiting to devour the child at the moment of birth but the child is “snatched up” away from the dragon and taken to Heaven to occupy the throne of God. The woman flees into the desert to a place prepared for her by God. As a result of this, the dragon becomes angry and makes war with all of the woman’s other children, those who “keep God’s commandments and confess that they belong to Jesus”.

Can you imagine displaying that nativity scene on your mantle? It would be an interesting conversation starter at the annual party!

The imagery here is pretty intense but the identities of the main characters, as explained through the narration, are pretty obvious, as is the point of this account. Peter summed it up this way, “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

As we enjoy all the imagery and tradition of Christmas, let’s not be lulled into complacency and forget that Jesus is not a passive baby in a manger but he is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, come to vanquish all the power of darkness, and you and I have been enlisted in the fight!


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