The birth of Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem is often portrayed as a quiet, pastoral scene, a contemplative moment when shepherds and barn animals alike gaze in adoration on the newborn child. In terms of spiritual warfare, however, it was the equivalent of a fifty megaton bomb. This is the moment when, after thousands of years, the one with the power to fight against evil and win had finally arrived. The battle had not yet been engaged, but the lines were drawn and war was declared. Christ’s birth began an inevitable series of events that will only end when evil is completly defeated and those enslaved by its tyranny are set free.
It’s a classic fantasy story, and all the more exciting for being true. This is the original version of the prophesied hero story: a man born in obscurity, destined to save the world. Bethlehem is no quiet moment. This is the point in the tale when the protagonist steps forward, accepting danger to protect others from evil that would destroy them. It’s Frodo, taking possession of the ring. It’s Lily Potter stepping between Voldemort and her child. It’s Katniss volunteering to take her sister’s place in the Hunger Games.
This isn’t the part of the story when the full sacrifice is made–that will come later. The final battle hasn’t arrived. The hero is destined to give up everything to save the world, but this isn’t the end. It’s that moment when the gauntlet has been thrown down and you know that from this point, it’s inevitable. Nothing will stop the final battle. The forces of evil have been given notice, and it’s too late to back down.
So was it a Silent Night? Not exactly. It may have been quiet and peaceful on the streets of Bethlehem, but the bomb that was dropped that evening ignited the events of the greatest story the world has ever known.