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The Christmas that could not be stopped

OPINION by Pastor Chuck DeVane, Special to The Sentinel-Record | December 25, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne.

-- Revelation 12:1-5, ESV

My two favorite Christmas cartoons have always been Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and Charles Shultz' "A Charlie Brown Christmas." At the conclusion of the cartoons, their combined messages form two convergent themes. You cannot stop Christmas from coming; and, Christmas is about the advent of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The contemporary war on Christmas is bothersome to Christians and somewhat maddening in a country where 80% of the citizens claim to be Christian. I realize that percentage is greatly inflated when weighed by biblical definitions, but it is still true that most people in America do want the kind of Christmas celebrations that are being fought against by a small percentage of grinches.

But the real war on Christmas plays out, in of all places, the pages of the book of The Revelation. The "woman" in the text is clearly a reference to the Old Covenant people of God, the "twelve stars" representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The birth in reference is that of "a male child, one who is to rule all the nations." This is the promised Messiah, whom we now know to be the Lord Jesus Christ. The revelation of Revelation 12 is not as warm and fuzzy as the gospel of Luke 2, but it is clearly about the birth of Christ, the first Christmas.

Who would want to stop the birth of Christ? Not a green grinch, but "a great red dragon," a symbol for Satan, a fallen archangel who fiercely opposes God, falsely accuses the people of God, and fights against the gospel of Jesus Christ at every turn. He has been wildly successful in seducing most people and the great powers of the world, the "seven heads and ten horns," and he has an array of demons, "a third of the stars," to assist him in his bidding. And when it comes to Christmas, the very first Christmas, he violently and relentlessly tried to stop it.

To counter Satan's schemes, God kept the Christ in hiding, for the most part, for 30 years, until John the Baptist held Christ's coming out party at the Jordan River. Then, all Heaven and Hell broke loose for the next three years.

Satan and his forces tried to stop Christmas, or stop Jesus Christ, at every turn. He turned the religious establishment and the government against Christ in ways the ACLU can only dream about. At last, the dragon thought he had ended Christ and Christianity before the New Covenant could be fully born, in a three-way script of insider betrayal (Judas), religious persecution (Pharisees and Sadducees), and government execution (Pontius Pilate). Thanks be to God, it did not work.

Mary, blessed among women, "gave birth to a male child." One day, when He comes again, He will "rule all the nations with a rod of iron." And when Satan tried to stop Him, even by crucifying Him, the Lord Jesus Christ "was caught up to God and to His throne."

The devil's heart will never grow three sizes, because he does not have one. The powers that be who are trying to snuff out biblical Christianity, from faithless insiders to government intruders, will never stop trying to stop Christmas and Christianity, because they have this false sense of security that they are winning. Are they?

Look back. The first Christmas was not stopped. Look around. Christmas has not stopped. Here we are, lighting advent candles, singing Christmas hymns, praising God, hearing His word, building His church, awaiting His return. Look above. Christmas cannot be stopped, Christ has come, and Christ is coming again. He will bring a new and perfect heaven and earth, a gift to all who have repented and believed in Him. And the celebration will never stop.

Chuck DeVane is the pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church, 5963 Central Ave. Call him at 501-525-8339 or email [email protected]

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