Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas according to the Book of Revelation

I'm preparing my Christmas sermon for tomorrow on Revelation 12. Here is the introduction:

It’s Christmas. So put up your nativity sets. Polish up your star of Bethlehem. Feed the donkeys. Put your plastic baby Jesus in the manger. I guess we should dress up as shepherds, wise men, and angels. Let’s do the nativity all over again as we do every year. Get some cute little girl to play Mary, hold hands with a cute little Joseph. Watch them bring frankincense, gold, and myrrh. We can sing “Little Drummer Boy” and “We Three Kings”. If we want to get theological we can argue about whether Jesus was born in a stable, a guest room with animals, or a cave. We all know the story. But let me ask you this. What if we could do the nativity story directed by Quentin Tarantino? (QT is a director of some of the most violent films that you’ll ever see like Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill). What would the nativity look like if Quentin Tarnatino wrote and directed it? I think the answer is Revelation 12? A woman in child birth is crying out in pain while a dragon is waiting to devour whatever is ejected from her birth canal. This is the nativity of John the Seer! No mangers, no shining stars over Bethlehem, a dragon waiting to kill and consume the Christ child. You see for John the Seer, Christmas (the birth of Jesus) is not simply a positive message of hope, good will, and joy to all people. Christmas is about God’s plan to destroy evil, vanquish the devil, and the triumph of God’s people against their chief adversary. Christmas is not consumer Christianity for the masses. It is an apocalyptic drama of God’s plan to repossess the world for himself through the seed of Eve, the child of a Galilean maiden, the fruit of Israel’s own womb. It’s the Woman vs. the Dragon. It is the Church vs. Satan – that is why Jesus was born. That is Christmas according to the book of Revelation.

8 comments:

Rick Wadholm Jr. said...

Love it! And there are in fact "stars" mentioned in Rev. 12...though a third of them are taken up in the cosmic battle by that Dragon and his tail. This will definitely be a powerful and thoughtful text for preaching! I may have to "borrow" the idea for Christmas....thanks Mike! :-)

Jarrod M. Longbons said...

I really like your message! There is, indeed, a place for the nativity story, but as it is done in contemporary story-telling, it is white-washed. It is made "nice," and palatable to modern secular bias. The bias of which I speak is of course, reducing Christmas to: family, public niceties, and consumer patriotism.

The vision of the nativity must contain the vision of Apocalypse too. Very good, indeed.

Tyler Stewart said...

You should get a bunch of red dragons for people to add to their nativity sets.

mr.scrivener said...

The redemption of Israel, awaiting for the most part outside of the old Covenant in the diaspora, rejected by the Jewish authorities, but received by the Messiah in His tour of Galilee, and by His reception of the Greek emissaries.. the 12 stars, this should also be a theme in the movie version, with threats of civil war as recorded at the Feeding of the 5000 in John etc.

peace
Nazaroo

Nathan said...

I made a dragon nativity scene picture for when I preached this passage a couple of years ago. It's bad. But you're welcome to flog it.

Michael said...

And, of course, QT would go totally gonzo, Kurosawa-style, with Herod's slaughter of the infants.

odolam said...

powerful. and yet there is a strong eschatological element in John. the woman described can hardly be contained to the person of Mary. the context itself is highly suggestive of the events of the end of the age.

jesse said...

soundtrack to your QT production would have to be done by guns n roses... queue "welcome to the jungle" ... :)