WAR!

21 Dec

Seeing pastoral nativity scenes every December fills me with a warm Christmas glow and almost lulls me into a sentimental stupor in which I conveniently forget what really happened the night Jesus was born.  What took place in the spiritual realm when God was born as a human baby reads more like the plot of a sci-fi fantasy-thriller than a nostalgic Christmas card:  A red dragon pursued a woman giving birth while his dragon-army fought Michael’s angels in heaven.  The dragon, not able to overpower Good, was hurled to the earth where he chased the woman and her Child.  Then, frustrated that the pair escaped, he turned on the rest of her offspring—“those who hold to the teachings of Jesus”.   His demise, foretold long ago, was accomplished by the Baby who crushed his head, but not before the serpent struck the baby’s heel.

So much for syrupy “Baby Jesus, meek and mild” Christmas stories—this is war!!

Easter is the ultimate triumph, but not the incredibly amazing part of the story.  At least, not to me.  If Jesus really is God, what is so surprising about Him rising from the dead??  I would expect God to be able to do that.  The part that devastates me is that He would set aside all his glory, privilege, and power to become a helpless, finite human baby; that He, the Creator of the world, would so completely reduce Himself to pursue me.

As He entered the world, the time-space continuum and all other realities couldn’t help it; they erupted in strange behaviors.  A supernaturally bright light burned in the sky; prophecies converged in fulfillment; heaven was ripped open; angels spoke to shepherds; and then all was quiet.  But everything was different.

The curse was broken; the dragon defeated.  Hope became tangible.  Our slavery-yoke of sin… shattered.  Light put out darkness.  God was approachable.  And people were drawn to Him.

He came to us so that we could come to Him.  And although He ascended to the Father, He still promises to draw near to us if we draw near to Him.  The book of Job contains a concept of what that looks like: Leviathan, the great creature of the deep, is covered with scales so near one another that no water or air can come between them.  They are so close that the two most pervasive materials on earth cannot sneak in.

The red dragon is still at war with us, but his Vanquisher is our Champion:
Immanuel.

———-

READY FOR SUNDAY

The above post is from my ordinarygirl blog. It continues to challenge me and is appropriate for us as worship leaders, especially at Christmastime. There is a place for quiet, Silent Night, moments during this time of year, yet they often come out of hard-fought war. War on cultural Christmas. War on my own expectations. War on busyness. And war on the enemy.

The hill we must take this Sunday is Awe and Wonder, the awe and wonder the enemy has stolen from us that keeps us doing and thinking anything else but worshiping God. Failure is not an option, for there are many who will be in our services this weekend who have stopped fighting and have no human ally who will fight for them.

———-

The snowflake kaleidoscope above is made from a paper cutting of a dragon crafted in Hong Kong. It represents both the red dragon and the scales of Leviathan—a reminder that with Jesus’ birth, the dragon is defeated, and that we can be so near to Him nothing can come between us. Luke 2:8-18; Matthew 2:9-11; Revelation 12; Genesis 3:15; James 4:8; Job 41:15-17; Isaiah 9:1-4

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2 Responses to “WAR!”

  1. Dale Argot December 21, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Cathy,

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts. The thought of God coming as a baby has really affected me this year. I’ve never quite thought about it that way. This year our first grandchild was born. It wasn’t long after that I thought about God coming that way as a baby, being completely vulnerable to his own creation. A God who humbled himself – as it says in Philippians. This week it really came to light as I was preparing for this week’s worship service. One of the songs we are singing this week is “Joy Has Dawned” by Keith and Kristyn Getty. In the second verse there is a line that says, Hands that set each star in place, shaped the earth in darkness, cling now to a mother’s breast, vulnerable and helpless. Praying for you this Sunday as you lead worship. Blessings…Dale

    • cathyhowie December 21, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

      Great thoughts, Dale. The concept of Immanuel is mind-blowing isn’t it? Prayers for you, too, friend! Worshiping God is offensive war and more important than we know! –cathy

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