It was one of the most riveting, shocking, repulsive 10 minutes of film ever recorded. The movie, Saving Private Ryan, portrayed incredibly brave but petrified young U.S. soldiers landing on Omaha Beach to face the full fury of the Nazi death machine during D-Day.
My friend, Rev. Jon Wilson, wrote:
“An unbelievable price was paid just to gain a toehold … in blood. At the end of D-Day, in one sense nothing had really changed. Europe was still under the power of the swastika. Evil reigned through the whole continent. There was only this one little plot of ground, a few feet of sand on an obscure stretch of beach in one lonely country that was not under the domination of the enemy.
“However, that one tiny stretch of land, that one tiny little beach was enough. At the end of that one day, everything was changed because now there was an opening, just a crack, a tiny little crack at first. But it would get a little larger the next day, and a little larger the week after that. The forces would get stronger every day.
“There was still a lot of fighting to do, and a lot of suffering, and a lot of dying. But, from that day on, it was just a matter of time.”
A tiny baby plants God’s flag in a hostile world.
“… the whole world lies in the power of the evil one,” as it is written in 1 John 5:19.
It’s hard to imagine that the seemingly tranquil scene of a baby being born of a teenage mother in a disheveled barn 2,000 years ago amounted to a beachhead in a heavily reinforced hostile land.
Scripture tells us in Hebrews 2: 14-15, “Since the children (God’s own) are made of flesh and blood, it’s logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil’s hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.”
Wrapping himself in skin, God came to rescue his beleaguered, enslaved children from the tyrannical boot of Satanic domination. We got in the mess, and God graciously undertook to get us out of it.
The price would be blood sweat and tears — his, not ours — but from that tiny beachhead in a manger would rise a glorious blood-bought army of saints who would mount the greatest spiritual battle in history. It started with Christ’s earliest followers and continues to this day: “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
When Jesus walked the earth, he didn’t come like so many religious leaders of his day, longing for the past and cursing the darkness — he embraced the challenge and engaged with the world as it was, lighting a light that still burns brightly today.
Then, he trained others to follow him and to connect their faith with their lives as actually lived and to bring his Kingdom to earth as a living reality, miracles and all. How else could the works of the Devil be defeated?
Things looked rather bleak when Jesus arrived on the scene back then — he was a low-born citizen of an enslaved people group. Yet he turned the then-known world upside down. You can almost hear him saying to believers today, “Hey, the battle for hearts and minds is not lost — it has hardly begun!”
“And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come …’”
How About You?
Still thinking Christmas is about Santa Claus, presents, colored lights and conspicuous consumption? Consider this from 1 John 5:18-20: “and we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”
“Have I allowed my personal human life to become a ‘Bethlehem’ for the Son of God? I cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless I am born from above by a birth totally unlike natural birth. ‘YOU must be born again.’”
— Oswald Chambers
— D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information, or contact him at email@example.com. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.