Doug Johnson: The part of Christmas many people forget about
Christmas is my favorite time of the year.
I enjoy the beautiful lights, giving gifts and spending time with my family. But what makes Christmas so special to me is remembering the real reason for the season.
According to Pastor Joe McKeever, Christmas is the day God fooled Satan.
You see, Satan is not a god, he is a created being, a fallen angel. He is not all-powerful nor all-knowing… only God is.
So, when it comes to predicting the future, Satan has to rely on what he remembers from when he was in heaven, what he sees in the world, and what’s recorded in the Bible.
Micah 5:2 records “But you, Bethlehem… though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel.” (NIV)
So, Satan knew Bethlehem was the place that the Messiah would be born.
Therefore, Satan went to Bethlehem to look for the Messiah—but God is always a thousand steps ahead of him!
Luke 1:26 tells us: “The angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth.”
So, God didn’t choose a couple from Bethlehem, He chose a couple from Nazareth.
Satan never saw it coming.
Next, God didn’t choose a married couple but an engaged couple. Luke 1:27 tells us the angel appeared “to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph.”
Mary became pregnant with the Son of God while engaged. When Joseph found out Mary was pregnant, he wanted to divorce her privately.
Back then, being pregnant out of wedlock with someone else’s baby was an offense punishable by stoning!
However, God sent an angel and told him it was okay to marry her because the child was actually God’s Son.
Satan probably figured there was no way God would use such “sinful people” as Mary and Joseph. A teenage girl pregnant outside of marriage would never gain God’s favor.
Once again, he was fooled!
Then, God moved them to Bethlehem secretly by causing Caesar Augustus to call for a census of his empire.
Luke 2:3 tells us: “Everyone went to his own town to register.”
There were so many people traveling to Bethlehem, Satan probably had a hard time keeping up with them all.
Next, God purposely did not put His Son in a mansion, palace, or hotel—but in a stable.
Satan remembered that God resides on a level of glory in heaven that is unmatched on earth.
He must have thought, “Surely the Son of God would never be born in a stable.”
Once again, Satan was fooled.
Then, God chose a band of the lowliest people on earth to welcome His Son, shepherds. No one would have cared (not even Satan) about a band of shepherds coming into town looking for what else? A stable!
Later, the wise men came to visit after following a star for many months.
Satan noticed this and put it in King Herod’s heart to kill Jesus. Matthew 2:16 records, “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding angry… and killed all the children that were in Bethlehem… from two years old and under.”
Satan was determined to destroy the young Messiah.
But Joseph, being warned by an angel, moved his family to Egypt and once again Satan lost track of Him.
Thirty years later, Jesus shows up on the banks of the Jordan River.
His cousin, John the Baptist, declares: “Behold, the Lamb of God! Who takes away the sins of the world!”
Satan saw that and he came to Jesus personally and tempted Him in the wilderness. But Jesus used the Word of God to defeat him.
It all ended three years later, when they stretched Jesus’ broken body out and nailed Him to a cross. Jesus cried out, “It is finished” and died. Satan was ecstatic, he’d finally won!
But I can imagine on that first Easter morning, an imp running into Satan’s presence — interrupting his three-day celebration.
He said the tomb was empty, Jesus was gone and the soldiers were out cold, lying on the ground.
God had fooled Satan again!
Now that’s a story worth telling and celebrating… Merry Christmas!
Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.