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A New Perspective on the Birth of Christ
Over the years, history has provided us with the birth of
many a ruler. Throughout the past, great monarchs and kings of the earth have
looked down upon their young heirs and bestowed upon them all the blessings a
man can give. Great fanfare generally follows, with magnificent displays of
brilliant fireworks, feasts with long tables of succulent food, parties with
graceful dances between beautiful couples, large hot bonfires that send thick
black smoke crackling into the night, dancing in the streets among shouts of
celebration, and the list goes on and on. All of the most influential people
are generally invited to these glorious celebrations to pay homage to their
young prince. The tiny infant, soon to be ruler of them all, peacefully sleeps
though most of it, lying in a gilded crib, clothed in soft silk and wrapped in
a warm blanket.
None of this was so for the ruler of our hearts. Born to a lowly carpenter caught in the worst of circumstances the greatest ruler of them all made His own kind of entrance. While there were no fireworks and no feasts, no food and no dancing, no fires and no shouting and not a famous person to be found, God created His own celebration for the occasion. Angles, more luminous and brilliant than the most majestic fireworks, filled the sky with beautiful sound more deafening than the loudest boom of the loudest fireworks, but more melodious then any choir that has ever set foot upon this earth. Instead of a bonfire, God set for Jesus a massive ball of flame billions of miles away. This cosmic inferno blazed to life at the precise moment which would allow its brilliant rays time to make their long, arduous journey through space and appear in our night sky, just as our savior was born. Instead of beautiful, rich and powerful people, Jesus kept court with the lowest of the low. Shepherds, who represented the common man and the primary subject of His kingdom, filled His throne room, a simple stable. Instead of silk and a blanket, Jesus had rags and a feeding trough. Instead of shouts of celebration, Jesus heard the baying of donkeys.
What a splendid way for the King to mark His arrival, all at once gloriously spectacular and simply humble. He was able to keep the meager surroundings of a common man, yet still have all the celebration and fan fare deserving of such a king.
No wonder some two thousand years later, we still remember and celebrate that night. There are many songs and stories to remind us of those joyous events. But little is ever said of the enemy. What was Satan doing the day the King was born? Maybe he didn’t even notice, maybe God slipped in His Son like a spy in a foreign land. If so, it was a brilliant tactical move and probably the greatest insurgency ever accomplished. Like a brilliant chess master, God moved His Son in place while his opponent was none the wiser. However, if Satan did notice the glorious celebration going on, surely he did not sit idle, he must have known his greatest opportunity had come.
Often Kings are forced to defend their sons while honoring their birth. Many times the King’s enemies seek to destroy the heir so that they might reign in his stead. Satan was like any other enemy. If he could kill the Prince of Peace, he would strike a blow that would not soon be forgotten, and what better opportunity? While most Kings defended their sons with thick castle walls and armies of professional soldiers; the Son of Man was sheltered only by a rickety stable and a few shepherds. Instead of war horses saddled at the ready, the King of King’s had only sheep to summon. But if we could have seen the spiritual world interacting with our own, what might we have seen? Perhaps the infant Jesus was not undefended. Perhaps there were ranks of majestic angels, gleaming in their polished, golden armor and ready to leap to the Princes defense. Meanwhile Satan summoned his demonic minions for attack. From all directions the monsters gathered to surround the stable, their shrill shrieks filled the sky while their dark wings blotted out the stars. This was the moment of moments for Satan. If he could just get to the Messiah; it would take nothing more than a violent shake to kill him. The tide of demonic forms swelled as all kinds of vile creatures circled the stable, preparing for attack. Finally the battle of ages was about to start. At the order of darkness, the demons charged headlong into the hedge of angelic spears and with a flurry of bright wings and a flash of gleaming blades, the hordes of the devil were cut down. What an epic defeat! But Satan was not through yet. This was a physical baby, and a physical attack could be mounted. All it would take is one possession of a nearby madman. Perhaps he could even persuade a king to order an attack from his armies. But the majestic protection of God continued to lie upon His son. He gloriously foiled the demonic charge, and thwarted any other attempts the enemy made.
Or maybe it didn’t happen that way. Maybe God simply watched as Satan’s armies hurled themselves into impenetrable, invisible walls. Each battered, embattled demon threw itself into the bulwarks with such force that it struck and fell fluttering in a mass of writhing wings and scales until, finally, beaten and exhausted the demons gave up and contented themselves to peer in to the silent peaceful sphere. In much the same way as we look into the local nativity today. Despite all of his apparent weakness, the infant Jesus was untouchable to the demon horde.
What an ironic and powerful demonstration of the Glory of God! He could not have put himself at a greater disadvantage. It would have taken so little for Satan to snuff out the life of the Christ. A disease caught in the cold stable, an attack from a thief, a wild kicking donkey or a dark satanic assassin. Yet none of that happened. Even in the weakest of positions with the most at stake, Satan was still rendered powerless at the hands of God. With all of his armies, all of his powers and all of his tricks, Satan could not even overcome a baby in a manger.
What does this mean for you and me? If God can so easily defend His most vulnerable of targets from all of the powers of Satan, how much more can He defend us from Satan’s lesser agents? God seems to take delight in placing himself in apparently precarious positions then miraculously bringing about victory. He seems to have a flair for the dramatic. What else would you expect from the creator of a universe in which we love stories? Why wouldn’t the story of reality be the greatest ever told? The next time things seem to be going the wrong way, try to remember that God’s favorite time to do something big is when things seem bleakest of all.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39”