Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Christmas: Time of peace or time of conflict?

Although I’m on leave, I agreed to preach yesterday during a Christmas church service. Trying to get away from the normal passage that people preach about on Christmas, I decided to prepare my sermon from Revelations 12. What I tried to indicate through this sermon is that Christmas did NOT bring peace (at least not in the sense that we tend to understand it), but that it rather brought conflict.
Revelations 12 is the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. But where Luke 2 tells us the story from a human point of view, Revelations 12 tells the story from a spiritual point of view. Or we could say that Luke 2 shows us what was happening on stage while Revelations 12 tells us what was happening behind the scenes.
Revelations 12 starts off by telling us that a woman was pregnant. Most commentaries agree that this woman represents the church. This woman is covered in glory (sun, moon and stars). But the woman is not alone. Standing in front of her, ready to devour the child as soon as it is born, is the dragon, also known as the devil or Satan. Ans so we see that, in spite of the message of the angels about peace on earth, there is a fierce battle going on. Fortunately the Father steps in and the Son is snatched up to the throne of God immediately after being born.
Afterwards the dragon focusses his attention on the woman (church) in order pursue her. However, the church is also protected by God. When the dragon realises that his attempts to harm the church is futile, he shifts his attention towards the believers in an attempt to harm them.
What touched me as I was busy preparing, was that the expected result of the birth of Christ was not peace all over earth, but that His birth rather led to a continuous battle between the believers and the dragon. We have to realise this. Christmas (and for that matter, the Christian religion) is not about peace and living in a land of milk and honey. Christmas started a battle which is continuing up to this day.
But there is one bright light at the end of the tunnel: The battle’s end has already been determined. The battle will continue until the day when Jesus comes again, but there is no doubt about the outcome – the dragon has already been defeated. And this is our comfort and also our peace. We don’t need to live in fear any longer of our defeated enemy!


Thursday, December 27, 2007 - Posted by | Eschatology, Hope, Theology

1 Comment »

  1. I LOVE how you approached Christmas from such a different perspective! I have never heard this done before. What creativity! I agree, we have yet to see peace anywhere…yet. I guess the only peace we have in inner peace when we have Jesus living within us.

    Comment by Maya | Thursday, December 27, 2007 | Reply

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