Christmas fills us with warm fuzzy thoughts of love and peace on earth. Our sweet little Christmas pageants acted out by children in bathrobes and headpieces; we all smile and giggle as “Mary” kisses her plastic baby Jesus and Joseph standing off from Mary because “he doesn’t like girls or baby dolls.”
Then we read the nativity accounts of Matthew and Luke and see angels singing, shepherds kneeling and a quiet and reflective Mary looks on.
John offers another perspective in the Book of Revelation. As the curtain is drawn back, he sees what happens on earth and in heaven. Here we see the cosmic impact of what was going on behind the scenes at the moment of Jesus’ birth.
Every inch of this planet is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan. We normally experience only the visible, everyday effects of this struggle. We feel it, for example, when we make a choice between what we know is wrong and what is right. But, as we are living out our lives on earth, the supernatural universe is simultaneously at war. Revelation draws the contrasts sharply: good versus evil, the Lamb versus the dragon, Jerusalem versus Babylon, the bride versus the prostitute.
Sometimes the “war in heaven” can break out into actual violence on earth, as it did when Jesus came. What a picture verses 5 and 7 paint, Satan himself standing there waiting to catch Jesus as He comes forth from Mary so he can kill him. And we see Michael and his angels waging war in the heavens to prevent it from happening.
He brought peace into the world that night because the battle was won in the heavenliness. Nowhere do we see Joseph or Mary rebuking Satan to bring peace. This was not their battle, it was a cosmic war waged in the heavenlies. Michael and his angels made certain that Jesus would be delivered safely into the arms of His waiting earthly parents.
“A great sign appeared in heaven…and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth…And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child…And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron…and there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.” Revelation 12:1,2,4,5,7
Oh Almighty, Everlasting God and Father, as I read these verses I tremble. There is so much I don’t see out there. I admire the blue sky by day and the dark velvet, starlit sky by night, but I don’t see the wars being waged in the heavens. Lord, I thank You for your mighty host of angels that protect me day and night. Even more importantly, I’m thankful that the war in the heavenlies the night Christ was born was victorious paving the way for Him to ultimately bring salvation to the world. In the strong name of Jesus, Amen.
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