FOR TUESDAY *TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING: Revelation 12:1-12
“She gave birth to a male child, who is destined to rule the nations with an iron scepter. Before the dragon could bite and devour her son, the child was whisked away and brought to God and His throne.” (Revelation 12:5; THE VOICE)
Tucked away in the imaginative Revelation of John is a nativity story quite unlike the one we are used to hearing. Instead of a wondrous where the babe, the Prince of Peace, is wrapped snuggly in its swaddling clothes and placed in a manger awaiting the angel-sent shepherds to arrive, Revelation gives a more ferocious story. John speaks of a “huge and fiery Dragon” with seven heads and ten horn crouched before the one giving birth to the One “destined to rule the nations” waiting to “bite and devour” the son. I doubt if such a nativity scene would be as popular at Christmas.
Yet, the message the Revelator reminds us that the birth of Jesus was a threat to the powers-that-be which depend upon force and violence to rule the world. This birth incited paranoid Herod to call for the killing of the innocent and Pilate to give into the frenzied crowds calling for the crucifixion of The Innocent. Our world continues to be taunted and challenged by those who trust more in force of mankind rather than trusting in power of God’s love. We wonder if the way of Christ is doable in this evil world.
Eugene Peterson identifies our problem: “we overestimate the politics of earthly government and underestimate the politics of heaven” [Conversations, p. 1966]. Although the world may continue to raise the daunting threats of the dragon in a myriad of ways these days – the Child lives, the assurance of salvation remains and God’s reign is intact.
PRAYER: God of Eternal Truth, give us the confidence we will need each day so that the threats of this world will not deter us from trusting in You. Amen.
*The Scripture Reading for each day is selected from the Revised Common Daily Lectionary used in A Disciple’s Journal – 2015 by Steven W. Manskar]