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DAY 25: THE GLORY OF THE LORD ACCORDING TO THE APOSTLE JOHN

برلا دجم نع ثدحتي انحوي لوسر

Arabic | Revelation 12

 

She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

– Revelation 12:5

 

My Palestinian kids gathered around our Christmas tree in Nazareth. I was insisting that we could not open the gifts until we had heard the Christmas story. They complained, saying, “We know all the stories in the Bible!” I then asked, “But have you heard the story of the dragon?” The night became silent, and the Spirit lit the lights of their eyes. I continued …

The Kings of the earth made an alliance with an evil dragon, the ancient serpent. It lived for thousands of years and recruited powerful, hellish armies. It manipulated economies and spread lies to destroy goodness, joy, peace, and justice. Mighty countries and powerful religious communities were under its spell. Who can oppose such power?

Believe it or not, there was a Bethlehemite child who was a threat to this dragon. The murderous dragon wanted to find this child and finish Him, so the dragon mobilized its underlings: “Find the mother and you shall find the child!” Evil kings looked for the baby throughout the world’s kingdoms and attacked God’s temples mercilessly.

Many people thought that God forsook them. They lamented, “O God! We are like a worm. Can a worm fight a dragon? Lord, Bethlehem is under siege; Gaza is dying. Our refugees cannot come back, governments are destroying our lands, and the dragon is blowing flames of fear into our hearts. Our young are jobless, without dignity or hope! Hell is opening its evil doors and is spreading discrimination, occupation, and hatred. Our Jerusalem is becoming the capital of oppressive segregation. Our leaders are paralysed.”

Yet the evil of the dragon grew stronger, and it was able to find the baby’s mother. She was a beautiful lady, shining with the light of the sun and the moon and crowned with glory. When the seven–headed dragon with ten horns found her, she was pregnant—with Jesus—and about to give birth. It was Christmas, but the dragon was attacking the mother at her weakest point and in the most unexpected place. Her only hope was not in a holy and safe place but in her first born. Could a baby defeat a vicious dragon?

The dragon tried to destroy the baby, but the power of the baby was beyond imagination. Love conquers hatred, light expels darkness, and hope defuses despair. The baby defeated the dragon and saved his mother from destruction. The birth of the baby was the beginning of the ultimate end of the dragon. The dragon is no longer indestructible.

However, the war continues. The mother brings forth many babies who are committed to following the path of the first baby, and the dragon seeks to distract and destroy them while it can. These children of light, of truth, of love, and of hope defeat the evil dragon again and again by their loyalty to their older brother.

They are the children of the celestial community, not the children of Babylon who embrace the dragon and its underlings. They are the living stones that shall construct the heavenly Jerusalem here on earth. They die heroes instead of living as cowards. Their faithfulness paves the way for the birth of the civilization of love, of hope, of equality, and of mercy. In the power of the baby born at Christmas, they strive toward the fulfillment of the dream of peace.

In light of the story of the Christmas dragon, I encourage my children to do the following: (1) believe that killing the dragon is possible, (2) fight the dragon and don’t give up, (3) stand against political and religious ideologies that embody and encourage systemic evil, (4) remember that we conquer the dragon not with his weapons but with the blood of the Lamb, (5) and whenever you are locked in Patmos like the Apostle John, lift up your eyes to heaven. You don’t need to leave Patmos in order to get to Jerusalem. You just need to believe in Christ and follow Him where you are. Jerusalem shall arrive through your faith, love, and hope as well as godly tears. Last, we need to fight the dragon together, so remember Palestinians and Israelis in your prayers during this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas!


Yohanna Katanacho

REV. DR YOHANNA KATANACHO
Nazareth, Israel

The Reverend Dr Yohanna Katanacho is a Langham Scholar and Langham–published author who currently serves as Professor of Biblical Studies and Academic Dean at Nazareth Evangelical College in Nazareth, Israel.

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