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Christmas in July
by Mary Alice McGinnis
I ran across this article as I was preparing for this devotion by David R. Smith, called, “The Christmas Card You Will Never See.”
As we read today’s passage from the book of Revelation, try to imagine this scene on the cover of a Christmas card. Just like Christmas in July seems out of place, David Smith says:
“We never see Christmas cards based on Revelation’s version of the Christmas story…and we never will.
Can you imagine opening a Christmas card that featured a woman caught in the pains of childbirth?
How about 'Merry Christmas!' written above the depiction of a menacing, seven-headed dragon? What…you don’t like scenes of ‘war’ and ‘death’ on your Christmas cards?”
This scene from Revelation begins with a woman in the throes of childbirth. Who is this woman, clothed in the sun, and standing on the moon? Who is she who has a crown of twelve stars on her head?
Consider this story from the book of Genesis. Joseph is the favorite son of Jacob (also named Israel). Speaking to his father, Jacob (Israel), his mother Rachel, and his eleven brothers, who will eventually become the twelve tribes of Israel, Joseph says:
“Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” (Genesis 37:9)
The women in Revelation 12 represents the children of Israel. The child born to her is the center of the Christmas story, the Messiah being born through their lineage, in the tiny town of Bethlehem, through a Jewish teenage girl, Mary.
But as soon as the child, Jesus, is born, Satan, the ancient Serpent himself - the same one who was in the Garden of Eden - enters the scene. He has seven heads and ten horns. The heads symbolize power and authority, and this serpent has seven of them. The horns symbolize power and strength, and this serpent has ten of them. And in opposition to this infant King of Kings, the serpent tries to usurp the kingly authority of God by crowning himself with seven crowns.
Do you remember how Herod tried to kill the baby Jesus? Do you remember the number of times the Pharisees plotted to destroy Jesus? For the 33 years Jesus walked this earth in the flesh, Satan, that Ancient Serpent (or dragon) was trying to devour Jesus. Jesus suffered the agony of constant oppression by evil.
In David Smith’s article, he concludes,
“Everyone wants messages of hope, joy, and peace on their Christmas cards. But let us not forget that were it not for the terrifying experiences of this Child, we would have no hope, joy, or peace.”
May the significance of this not be lost to us. At the very moment when this powerful, hellish creature threatens to do his worst, he is NO MATCH for King Jesus, even in His most vulnerable state as an infant.
Revelation 12:5 reminds us that Jesus still rules. Even though Satan tried to devour Him, Jesus was snatched up to God.
He is eternally enthroned as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Psalm 2:4-7 says,“The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, ‘I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.’ I will proclaim the Lord ’s decree: He said to me, ‘You are my son; today I have become your father.’”
Does suffering, tragedy and evil seemly have seven heads and ten horns in your life? How does remembering the suffering of Jesus give you hope? How does knowing Jesus rules all with unbending strength and power (iron) and He is still enthroned the Victorious King of all give you comfort, peace and joy today?
Prayer – Pour out your heart to God today. Tell Him of all your sufferings, disappointments, griefs, and pain. Bring to Him all the places in your life where you are feeling oppressed. Ask Him to fill you to the brim with His eternal presence, unsurpassable joy, and endless peace.
Sit at the feet of the One Enthroned on High as you ponder on these verses from Revelation. Cling to your warrior King who has slayed the seven headed -ten horned red Dragon, Satan himself.