Most of us know the Christmas story well. An angel comes to Mary and informs her that she is the special one whom God will use in order to bring about the birth of the world’s Savior; and at just the right time in God’s plan of salvation this promised One, born of a woman (Galatians 4:4-5), who would crush Satan’s head (Genesis 3:15; Colossians 1:13-14) and save the human race, was born.
In order for this birth event to take place in Bethlehem, for this Savior would be from the house and lineage of David (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:5-6), Caesar Augustus orders that the entire Roman world was to go back to the place of their ancestral heritage – and it was this edict that caused Joseph and Mary to be in Bethlehem so that His birth might fulfill that ancient prophecy of Micah.
As much as I treasure the Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke, the background story from Revelation 12:1-6 grants a primal perspective on His birth, especially Revelation 12:4b-5a: “and the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child…”
Ever since the first promise of a Savior was given to Adam and Eve, Satan (the dragon) was busy trying to trying to devour the Christ Child so that He would not be able to accomplish His work as Savior and Redeemer. At the time surrounding His birth, we see king Herod serving as the special instrument of Satan the dragon, ordering that all the male children in the region of Bethlehem be killed (Matthew 2:16); and ever since that day in the Garden of Eden, God and Satan have been engaged in a great conflict for the soul of every human being. God wants people to be saved and Satan wants people to perish.
As we reflect on the various accounts of His birth narrative, we turn to these words from John’s Gospel for yet another perspective on His coming:
“in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:1-4)
…the true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world knew Him not. He came to His own home, and His own people received Him not. But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become the children of God (John 1:9-12)
…For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent His Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (John 3:14-18).
May you, this Christmas season, be like Mary who pondered these things in her heart; for over and over again she reflected on what God had done for her, and the human race, by sending us a Savior. And may you, like the angels, make known this Good News in the lives of others so that they, like us, might believe in Him who is the Light of the world and the Hope of the nations.