Immediately following 9/11/2001, some “let’s stick together, America” talk had emphasized that religious people should give up divisive “traditions”—the idea being that all views of God were equal. And so the urge was be united against the darkness that had occurred. Of course, as writer Joseph M. Stowell pointed out, the problematic “tradition” to be pushed aside seemed to be Jesus (The Trouble with Jesus, pp. 14-17). And going with a sort of generic use of god/God/“the divine” solves that problem.
So Stowell was pleasantly surprised by a 12/24/2001 editorial in London’s The Times, titled “The Nativity Is a Scandal and Should Remain One.” The writer (Colin Nicholl) was calling out our weak representation of Jesus in the various “peace and love” pleas that followed 9/11. A sort of “inclusive” speaking of God was present, but not a strong message of the true God. Nicholl said of the 2001 Christmas season, “The baby Jesus is being presented in even more bland and innocuous terms than in previous years.… We miss the whole point of the Christmas story if we try to make the infant Jesus fit our agenda rather than acquiescing to His agenda.… Essential to the Christmas story are claims concerning who the child is—unsettling, necessarily offensive claims to ancients and moderns alike.… [Politically correct], anaesthetized readings of the Christmas story are just damnable, despicable distortions of God’s most significant intervention in human history” (quoted in Stowell, pp. 72-74).
Fast-forward to worship on Christmas Sunday 2022. One minister read—of all things—the entire chapter of Revelation 12! Instead of a fluffy “all is calm … heavenly peace” Christmas message, we were presented with the idea that Satan was out to get “baby Jesus” but is also after all of us who follow the Lord (Revelation 12:17). The minister finished up by playing this 3-minute video, “There’s a Dragon in My Nativity.”
It’s really good rhyme, plus strong-and-true concepts. Spooky cool. One line speaks of this dragon “overshadowing each birth.” But the video also has the reminder that this baby Jesus would be a dragon slayer. What a great image for young people! If they tend to see Jesus as merely gentle, the dragon slayer persona is more like a video game superhero! Except … oh yeah, Jesus is real and this is true!
So the little video is a reminder that the Lord Almighty is a victorious warrior. To quote The Times piece again: “Let us not insult the Christ child by attempting to tame Him for our causes.… The infant of the Nativity scene does indeed come as a message of love, peace and goodwill from God, but only on His terms.”
Given all the dark stuff young people are up against, how about having a family conference (with kids or grandkids) to watch and discuss that little video gem (and Revelation 12) about Jesus the Dragon Slayer!
(See my article “Jesus vs. the Dragon” for more on this topic.)