I don’t know about you, but I find myself overwhelmed this morning. Overwhelmed with this difficult thing called parenting, overwhelmed with trying to create a wonderful Christmas experience for my family, overwhelmed with my chronic illness, overwhelmed with… life!
I decided to be intentional about celebrating Advent with my family this year. I purchased Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift to provide a template with which to follow. I never grew up celebrating Advent even though I grew up in a Christian home. So I wanted to be intentional about trying to teach my kids through daily tradition that Christmas is really about Christ and not just about getting gifts.
But ever since we started doing this daily devotion of Advent last week, we have experienced anything but peace. I had an influx of pain and exhaustion, my husband had a lot of difficulty at work, my daughter learned how to throw sizable tantrums when she didn’t get her way, my son decided to throw larger tantrums loaded with negatively charged words that stung, and our outside Christmas lights refused to do their job as they lined our roof.
You could say it’s all coincidence but it seems to me that something or someone is pushing back on us begging us to stop. Stop counting and looking for Jesus everyday, stop creating this tradition of Advent to be a family tradition, stop teaching little minds the genealogy of Christ.
Yesterday our pastor started his Christmas sermon series though it was like nothing I have ever heard before. He referenced a story told in Revelation 12:1-6. I won’t go into great detail because all of the details and theology of this passage are beyond my abilities but basically the passage talks about what was going on in the heavenly realms when Christ was about to break into our world as a baby. It tells of this ferocious red dragon that was waiting to devour this child that was about to be born -this child (Christ) who was intended “to rule all the nations with a rod of iron”. Verse 5 states though that this child was “caught up to God and his throne” and as we know Christ did enter our world as a baby with the intention of giving up His life for everyone so that we all may experience eternity with Him and His father.
I honestly don’t want the purpose of this post to focus on our enemy, this red dragon known as Satan. But I do want us to be aware of who is lurking in our houses, in our families, in our lives this Christmas season, waiting to devour us and take our focus off of celebrating Christ’s birth. You see the very last thing our enemy wants is for us to slow down long enough to see and feel and sense the power that lives in this Christmas story. For if Christ never came, He could never die and save us from our sins. We would never experience relationship with God apart from Christ.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers,
against the authorities,
against the cosmic powers over this present darkness,
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
In no way do I want to give this enemy glory, but we need to be aware of his existence…especially during this Christmas season. As we are aware of his presence we can adequately pray and use the word of God as our armor and shield.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God,
that you may be able to withstand in the evil day,..
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth,
and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
and, as shoes for your feet,
having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith,
with which you can extinguish
all the flaming darts of the evil one;
and take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
praying at all times in the Spirit,
with all prayer and supplication.”
God has given us provision as we fight this fight of faith on a daily basis. Through His word, we have our sword of the Spirit and our shield of faith with which we can extinguish ALL the flaming darts of the evil one.
For those of you who do not believe in Christ, God, or even Satan, I pray that you too can take time out of this busy season of Christmas to do a little research for yourself. Seek out why you believe what you believe and even possibly search the Scriptures to see if what I’m saying is true.
There’s a reason why Christmas is described as a magical season…because a magical thing happened: a baby king was born to a virgin woman and was born both fully God and fully man. This baby was born so that we may have life and have it to the full.
I pray that you can experience this miracle for yourself this season. May you be alert to the ways of our enemy but may your heart be strengthened by the power of Christ that lives in you as you are fighting to see Christ in Christmas this year.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded
by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside every weight,
and sin which clings so closely,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”