How would you finish this sentence? Christmas is a time for ________. I bet I could predict the top answers—Peace. Hope. Joy. Love. Family. But how many would say Christmas is a time for war? Um . . . I’m guessing zero.
Except Luke. Did you catch the word Luke chose to describe the glorious scene out in the shepherds’ fields? “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel” (Luke 2:13). Do you know what the word host means? My dictionary says, “someone who entertains guests,” like the family that hosts a Christmas party. But an older use of the word, the one Luke refers to here, is “army.” On the night Jesus was born, a great company of the angel army appeared. Erase the images of dainty, frail, pale angels. Insert barrel-chested, sword-wielding, black ops heavenly soldiers.
Why would Luke choose that word? Why not “heavenly choir,” given their upcoming rendition of “Gloria”? Because, as the rest of Luke’s gospel will prove, Jesus came into this world to fight, not to sing. General Jesus was born to direct the armies of God against all the forces of hell.
And that’s good news for you. Because on the days when you’re losing the fight against worry or jealousy or bitterness, you can turn to the Jesus who fought for you. When you don’t have the strength to fight off your demons, you can call upon the name of the wounded warrior who bled, died, and rose to conquer every threat to your salvation. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14).