In his book The Jesus I Never Knew
, Philip Yancey recounts flipping through Christmas cards. He found beautiful landscape scenes, frolicking animals, and cuddly-looking angels. Even those that focused on Bethlehem presented a tranquil picture. Inside, the cards were full of “love, goodwill, cheer, happiness, and warmth.”
As I read Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth, I’m reminded that Jesus’ birth was anything but serene. It’s a wild and crazy adventure. You read about a band of explorers led by a magic star, a crazy king intent on killing Jesus, and a young refuge family on the run for their lives. This is a good introduction to the birth of Jesus. It’s not peaceful; it’s disruptive. It changes everything.
I’ve always been struck by Revelation’s picture of Christmas. Revelation 12 speaks of a baby being born. It’s a turning point in history. “And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it” (Revelation 12:4). I’ve never seen this on a Christmas card! The birth of Jesus unleashed a new spiritual battle. The birth of Jesus was anything but a tranquil event.
We know how the battle will end, but we’re still waiting for history to run its course according to God’s plan. Every Christmas I find myself praying that I will see past the safe Christmas images, so that I will see the birth of Jesus as what it really is. It was disruptive, and it continues to disrupt lives even today.
My prayer for you this Christmas is that you will be caught in the wild and crazy adventure of Jesus and his story. His birth, life, death, and resurrection stand at the climax of history. He changes everything. I pray that your life will be disrupted by the one who was born at Christmas, and that you will never be the same.