It's almost Christmas. Soon we'll gather with family and friends to celebrate the birth of Jesus, son of God and saviour of the world. The story as told in Luke 2 will be shared yet again - in fact I will read it from my Daddy's bible like I do every Christmas Eve. A beautiful story of how God became man and dwelt among us - a story of angels and shepherds, a quiet stable and a baby.
But there is another version of that story and it is told in another book - Revelation 12 - it goes like this:
The Woman, Her Son, and the Dragon : A great Sign appeared in Heaven: a Woman dressed all in sunlight, standing on the moon, and crowned with Twelve Stars. She was giving birth to a Child and cried out in the pain of childbirth...The Dragon crouched before the Woman in childbirth, poised to eat up the Child when it came... The Woman gave birth to a Son who will shepherd all nations with an iron rod. Her Son was seized and placed safely before God on his Throne...War broke out in Heaven. Michael and his Angels fought the Dragon. The Dragon and his Angels fought back, but were no match for Michael...Salvation and power are established!...For the Devil's come down on you with both feet; he's had a great fall; He's wild and raging with anger; he hasn't much time and he knows it...Helpless with rage, the Dragon raged at the Woman, then went off to make war with the rest of her children, the children who keep God's commands and hold firm to the witness of Jesus.
Seemingly a different event - no shepherds, no stable, angels yes, but angels of war this time. It is a picture of a a fierce battle - life and death - like the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. A battle in the war to end all wars. For you see, we live in a world at war. It was the beginning of the end - an invasion by Jesus into the realm of the evil one. That war rages on - all around us - unseen, but oh so real.
Jesus, who came as a baby and died as a willing saviour, will return as a mighty warrior. The commander of a vast army - powerful beyond all imagination. He will return - soon and very soon - and lead his army to final victory. His desire is for us to choose to fight with Him, but the choice is ours. "Choose wisely", as the Grail Knight says in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, choose wisely.
So, have yourself a merry little Christmas, but keep your hand on your sword for the war rages on.