“A great sign appeared in heaven:
a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet
and a crown of twelve stars on her head.
She was pregnant and cried out in pain
as she was about to give birth”
Oh, the sweet scene of the nativity!
All is calm, all is bright as a star sheds light on a stable where the infant king is sleeping. The breeze of the cool night air brings with it a gentle melody singing while the livestock in their pens echo sounds of praise. Did they know royalty was before them?
The blessed sight has been carved out of wood or hand painting on porcelain depicting a scene that has become a familiar staple in homes at Christmas time.
Luke 2 describes this moment as the whole world zooms in on this scene. “And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger…” (Luke 2:7)
Peace has come, for the Prince of peace is lying in a bed of hay.
Yet, above the stable, beyond the stars, another scene is unfolding. The prince of darkness lets out a wail that shakes the heavens.
The events on earth described by Luke shift as God Himself ushers in this scene in heaven. Don’t rush through these words depicting the reality of this moment as the demonic forces rage against the babe in a manger.
“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.” (Revelation 12:1-5)
The battle for Christmas is seen within these two signs given in Revelation 12.
The first sign is a woman who appears to be Mary and yet represents Israel as a nation for the infant king is born out of them.
Isaiah describes this scene in His prophecy to the people:
“Before she goes into labor, she gives birth;
before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son.
Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this?
Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment?
Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.
Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord.
“Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?”
says your God.
“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice greatly with her,
all you who mourn over her.” (Isaiah 66:7-10)
The second sign is the dragon, a violent murderer who brings with him authority in his seven heads and strength within his ten horns.
It is here the prophecy given in Genesis 3 plays out as the battle for the seed of the woman continues. Throughout history the evil one has been out destroy the seed and He does this through women. Barrenness, abuse, and annihilation are seen over and over in the narrative of the Old Testament which often points to the destruction of the woman. If her seed is destroyed there will be no Messiah!
The Son in this passage ushers in a different kind of Christmas than pictured in the pristine trough of our nativity scenes.
The battle advances in the heavenlies as the enemy strategizes his next move.
Yet, on earth, a young mama holds her infant close while she sings a soothing lullaby that makes the enemy shudder. Nothing could take away this precious moment as Mary ponders this treasure within her heart.
Maybe, just maybe … time is standing still, for all is calm while the babe sleeps in heavenly peace.