Living Nativity

This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening, weather permitting, we celebrate Christmas on the Hillside of Church of the Open Door with worship centered on the Incarnation of our Savior, Jesus Christ and wrapped around a living nativity scene.

Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nativity scene in 1223 (a “living” one) intending thereby to cultivate the worship of Christ. The scene’s popularity inspired communities throughout Christendom to stage similar pantomimes and eventually to create elaborate and ever more elaborate static exhibitions with wax and ivory figurines garbed in rich fabrics set against intricate landscapes.

Another Player

These nativity scenes are accurate, if you’re limiting the players to those described in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, but if you expand the search to include all of the books of the Bible, you discover that one very important personage is missing—important if you want to understand what’s really going on in the universe.

The Bible tells us that there is a war going on that we cannot see with our eyes. Spiritual warfare is the ongoing war between invisible, angelic forces that affect you and me. A biblical view of the universe is this—everything visible and physical is the result of something invisible and spiritual. Christian, we are at war against the forces of evil and the battles are being lived out in our daily lives and the lives of those we love.

And never was that battle raging more intently than that holy night Christ was born away in a manger, in the little town of Bethlehem.

There was someone besides the Mary and Joseph anticipating the birth of the Son of God…an evil one, a liar and a murderer…the devil.

Waiting to Devour the Baby

The big picture of biblical history tells us that Satan himself was literally waiting for the birth of Jesus of Nazareth with murderous rage in his heart, seeking his opportunity to kill the Son of God and flank the Godhead’s plan to redeem the universe because Satan hates redemption.

Revelation 12:4 presents a chilling picture of Satan waiting for the birth of Jesus with murderous rage. Satan had done everything within His power to prevent the birth of the Son of God. But now that the birth seemed inevitable, the devil had a plan to kill the child because he hates redemption.

Satan Hates Redemption

Satan pays more attention to the Word of God than most Christians. He planned His attacks on Jesus according to the Bible! Satan knew how the Savior would come because he had been fighting the Redeemer’s revival since the beginning of human history:

  • The Savior would be a descendant of a woman (Genesis 3:15). In the Garden the devil learned how he was going to be defeated: The Seed of the woman is the Lord Jesus Himself—this phrase indicated the fact that this coming Redeemer and this coming seed would have a human mother, but not a human father. This is a prophecy of the virgin birth of Jesus. Satan tries to thwart the plan by causing Cain to kill Abel (1 John 3:12), but God gave Eve another child, Seth.
  • The Savior would be a descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:3; 18:18). Sarah was barren until God opened her womb.
  • The Savior would be a descendant of Jacob (Numbers 24:17). Esau tried to kill Jacob but God spared his life.
  • …of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10). Satan destroyed all the seed of the house of Judah, but one boy, Joash, was spared (2 Chronicles 22:10-12).
  • …of David’s lineage (Psalm 132:11; Jeremiah 23:5). Satan tried to wipe out the Jewish race through Haman during the time of Esther, but God used Esther and Mordecai to spare the nation (Esther 3)
  • …from Galilee (Isaiah 9:1).
  • …but born in Bethlehem of Judea (Micah 5:2).
  • …born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).

Satan Tried to Kill the Redeemer

Satan did everything he could to prevent the birth of the Son of God, but failed (Revelation 12:1-6; Matthew 2:13-18).

  • Heaven’s Perspective: A woman (Israel) gave Christ to the world (v 5) as a fiery dragon (Satan) waited to devour the Child. But the child finished the assignment and ascended to heaven (Revelation 12:1-6).
  • Earth’s Perspective: The One who would “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21), was adored by many, but attacked by Satan through Herod (Matthew 2:13-18). But Satan will not thwart God’s plan of redemption (Matthew 2:13-15; Hosea 11:1; Jeremiah 31:15).

When Herod slaughtered 20 or 30 innocent babies in Bethlehem trying to kill the King of the Jews, he was fulfilling prophecy and doing the bidding of the kingdom of darkness.

A kingdom that hates your redemption.

The Devil Hates Christmas!

Christian, Satan hates your redemption and he’s going to do everything he can this Christmas season to steal the joy of your redemption.

If you’re wondering why it feels like the whole world is against you this Christmas, it’s because it is—powerful forces that hate your redemption are arrayed against you and your only hope is to access your resources in Christ because the battle is the Lord’s and He’s the only One who can win it.

This Christmas, you can either explain your God by your circumstances or explain your circumstances by your God—the same God who defeated Satan when He tried to kill His Son before He could die the death He chose to die…death on a cross to make payment for sin and give us hope.