“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to his own town to register.
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”1
Not far from Bethlehem, Satan contemplated Joseph’s journey. In the spiritual battle for the lives of humankind, this inconsequential couple, pregnant out of wedlock, was the avenue by which God would initiate mankind’s redemption. While the world took no notice, Satan knew, God knew, and Joseph knew—Mary was pregnant with the Messiah. With His birth, it would be Christmas.
Michael and the armies of heaven stood at red alert. Christmas must not be deterred.
While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, “the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
With the sound of Mary’s labor pains, Satan stalked closer to devour the child, the hope of mankind. This birth was the harbinger of a heavenly weapon unparalleled in the universe and without equal in hell’s arsenal. In the intimate quiet of this Middle Eastern stable, Mary labored and the devil poised for a fatal blow to her helpless child. Christmas was imminent.
Heaven’s army waited a command. Before them was an earthly scene not unlike any other birth. But from a spiritual perspective, a great initiative was about to be launched.
With one final push the baby was born. The dragon lurched forward. The heavenly hosts broke into praises. God nodded. Michael and the armies of heaven leaped at His bidding and there was war in the heavens between Michael and the dragon. It was Christmas morning.
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’”
On this night, the course of history changed. In a simple feeding trough for livestock, a helpless boy-child with an olive complexion was wrapped in rags and laid to rest on fresh straw. God had invaded earth, the seat of the dragon’s bastion. All around the spiritual world convulsed with combat.
In Bethlehem, a baby was born. In heaven, a spiritual revolution established an earthly beachhead that would change the course of history and reclaim the hearts of mankind. Christmas had come.
Unflinching in His determination, God continues to execute His plan of reconciliation. It is His effort to state in words we cannot mistake, in words that echo from the lips of an angelic envoy in the Judean hills, down to the pits of hell, up to the ramparts of heaven, and into the hearts of every man, woman, boy, and girl: “I love you. Merry Christmas.”
1 Reference Luke 2:1-20 (NIV)
2 General reference to Revelation 12:1-17 (NASB)