Christmas Means War

Zach Farrar - Community Groups Coordinator

Christmas means war. I’m not talking about a war over whether or not we can have a nativity at the school Christmas pageant this year or if we have to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Jesus’ birth over two thousand years ago was not just a humble incarnation, it was the beginning of an invasion. The beginning of God’s final plan to reclaim His fallen, broken, warped world for His purposes. It was the beginning of the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Skeptical? Read some of the songs that people wrote when they heard about Jesus birth. Are they full of joy and proclamations of peace? Absolutely – but they are also declarations of God’s war on sin and the beginning of His final campaign against our rebellion. Mary, Jesus’ own mother, sang before His birth:

“Oh, how my soul praises the LORD.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For the Mighty One is holy,
And He has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
To all who fear Him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
And exalted the humble…
He has helped His servant Israel
And remembered to be merciful.

– Luke 1:46-56

Not exactly what we would expect of the virgin Mary right? At Jesus’ birth she speaks of God scattering the proud and exalting the lowly. Of dispatching princes and their armies with His mighty arm while being faithful and merciful to those who love Him. Zechariah, a prophet at the temple during the time of Jesus’ birth, likewise promised that Jesus was coming to rescue God’s people from their enemies and put down those who hate Him (Luke 1:68-79).

Moreover, Jesus is time and again referred to as a King. From Isaiah 9 to the angels who sang to the shepherds (Luke 2), everyone who came in contact with the newborn acknowledged that one day, He will rule the world. Herod, the vile puppet-king of Rome who ruled in Judea even understood on some level that Jesus’ arrival was a declaration of war on His mismanaged, homicidal reign. His solution was to slaughter any baby who might possibly have been Jesus in His Kingdom (Matthew 2:13-18).

Homicidal campaigns, promises of the destruction of God’s enemies, proclamations that Jesus will one day rule the nations with power, righteousness, and an unchallenged rod of iron (Psalm 2:9). All of this came with the birth of a baby in Bethlehem. Yet Jesus’ came not to immediately destroy His enemies, but offer all people, including you and I, to lay down our rebellion and join His kingdom. His first teaching in the Gospel of Matthew? “Repent for the Kingdom of God has come,” (Matt. 3:2). As a humble, compassionate Priest-King, Jesus came to first rescue His enemies, and offer us a chance to repent and follow Him as a part of His family (Rom. 5:8).

His first coming was an invitation to join His Kingdom now. Today. His first coming was an invitation to hope and trust in Him and His different reign. A better reign – one where our own arrogance, selfishness, pride, lust, greed, and quest for power are absent. A reign marked by a humble king who lovingly stands in the gap for us as a priest before God, and offers His blood, to make us, His enemies, His friends once more. A King and Priest who fights at the beginning of His kingdom, to make His enemies, His brothers and sisters (Hebrews 1:5-18).

His first coming also provides us with hope for the future. At His first coming, Jesus was a humble King and Priest who offered us hope. At His Second Coming, Jesus will come to complete His mission. What was started at Bethlehem will be finished in a new heavenly city. Then, He will finally complete His war. He will deliver His people from the frustration of sin, death, pain, and brokenness. He will put down the rebellion of those who have refused His offer of peace (Rev. 20-21).

Christmas means war – a war marked by a King who came to bring us Hope. If we follow Jesus now, we live in hope not only that Jesus has already saved for, but also the hope that He is coming again to make all things new. This hope is particularly meaningful this Christmas. As we see our world devolve into chaos from the war in Syria to mass shooting abroad to famine and drought throughout the world, we can easily despair. We could ask “where is God?” We could get angry. All of these are understandable reactions.

Or we could look in hope to the King who came once in humility to save us. The same King who promises to come again and finish what He started. The King who came first as our humble Priest to represent us before God and die for us. The King who will come again as our Victor. Christmas means war – God’s fantastic, grace-filled war against sin that offers us hope for salvation today and for a world renewed when Jesus comes again.

Post Series: Advent 2015

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Will Arthur

    I agree. Christmas was the equivalent of D-Day in WWII. The invasion began 2000 years ago, and it will be completed. Excellent writing, Zach, and excellent thoughts! Love it. I wrote some similar thoughts re Christmas in my blog, but I like yours even better.

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