There’s a dragon in the Nativity Story.
We don’t put one in the cozy little Nativity sets that we display during Advent–because we don’t want to scare the children. This particular dragon is extra scary because it has seven heads.
“She [Mary] was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who ‘will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.'”Revelation 12:2-5
This text from Revelation chapter twelve tells us that there was extreme Satanic opposition to Christ from the very beginning of his life. The story is told in Matthew chapter 2–where we find out that King Herod is so threatened by the news that a future king was born in Bethlehem that he sent soldiers to kill all the boys under two years old. In a dramatic escape, Mary, Joseph, and a very young Jesus go to Egypt until it’s safe to return.
I think the contrast between Herod and Jesus is profound and instructive. Herod demands worship, and is ready to murder to remain King.
King Jesus is the anti-Herod.
King Herod was troubled by envy and threats to his power. He was paranoid. King Jesus was filled with the joy. Our Lord was not troubled. Though He would be betrayed, He was never paranoid.
King Herod was a taker. King Jesus is the ultimate Giver and the ultimate Gift.
King Herod was treacherous. King Jesus is faithful. Incapable of treachery, He promises to never leave us nor forsake us.
King Herod’s worship was false, a ruse. He bows the knee to no one but himself. King Jesus gave glory to the Father. And He receives true worship as the only One worthy.
King Herod was tricked by the Magi. King Jesus is impossible to fool. He dealt successfully with the most cunning liar in the history of the universe (Satan)—and vanquished him by the Word of God. The Gospels are full of stories of clever men attempting to trap Our Lord—he answers them so masterfully that people are amazed.
King Herod is temporary. King Jesus is the Alpha and Omega—without beginning or end. He rose immortal from the grave, and He shall reign for ever and ever.
I’m glad there’s no dragon in my Nativity set. King Jesus is the Victor.