The first Christmas was a dramatic conflict between the powers of darkness and the God of light. Revelation 12 portrays this in apocalyptic language showing an enormous read dragon with seven heads and ten hours and seven crowns on his heads waiting for a woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.
Wicked King Herod, whom I had the opportunity to portray in a drama several years ago, was enraged that there was one BORN King of the Jews. He was the appointed king, the deputized monarch for the Roman Empire whose insecure paranoia led to ‘The Slaughter of the Innocents.’ Matthew 2 portrays this dark side of the Christmas conflict with false worship, religious information and reactionary executions of innocent lives. Hmmm…sounds a great deal like headlines this Christmas, doesn’t it?
In Ephesians 6, Paul reminds the congregation at Ephesus that the conflict evidenced at Christ’s birth continues in the experience of His followers. How shall Christ-followers then live?
1) Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.
2) Put on the full armour of God (repeated twice for emphasis).
3) Stand firm then….
4) Take up the shield of faith….
5) Pray in the Spirit
6) Be alert and always keep on praying
Spiritual conflict requires spiritual weapons. God protected the Christ child until He had grown into a mature God-man who drank the cup the Father had mixed for Him and willingly surrendered His life. God offers all the protection Christ-followers need to resist the devil’s mischief. Resistance is possible and required if we are to be ‘more than conquerors.’ There is armour for every part of our body, except our back. No turning back, no running away, no, we must face the foe. We must launch attacks as we wield the sword of the Spirit and build a multi-faceted prayer life.
So what’s the best way to prepare for Christmas conflict? Avail yourself of what God has provided for you and prayerfully put it on. Be aware that the battles you face are not simply personality conflicts but encounters with the spiritual forces of evil. Prepare yourself through prayer. Using the well-worn outline of ACTS, let’s prepare for Christmas by spending more time in Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Let’s pray for opportunities through the means available to us to make known the mystery of the gospel–good news–of God’s mercy made available through JESUS who is called the Christ!