Advent As War

The Western world is on a fast track to outright paganism. And yet, for now at least, a semblance of the advent story has been left in tact. We still have a baby in a manger, a guiding star, amazed shepherds and worshipping wise-men. Once a year we have this half-chance of inviting our non-Christian friends to something that we know they might enjoy – singing carols, sipping mulled wine, and hearing a heart-warming message about the love of God for all.

Only are we missing something? In the midst of the good news and the love of God and amazing birth of God’s Son … have we missed a vital part of the story? As much as we need to proclaim the love of God in Christ, and as much as we should declare the good news of peace with God through Christ, are we only telling half the story?

Luke 2:14 and the praise of the heavenly host epitomises this for me. We all know the scene:

The shepherds watching their flocks by night.

The angels fluttering about in the warm after glow of ambient light.

The consoling song of the heavenly host: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those whom he is praised!”

What better passage of Scripture to declare the re-affirming nature of the love of God?

But have we missed something?

Return to the scene. Only think about it through a different (and more redemptive-historical) lens:

Angel appearances are rare and frightening.

Angels are fearsome warriors. The Bible consistently describes them as formidable other-worldly beings.

The ‘heavenly host’ (Luke 2:13) refers to the innumerable angelic armies of God, who serve and do the bidding of ‘the Lord of hosts’ (Isaiah 6).

There are millions of them- a “multitude”. The whole host has turned up. The sky is littered with them. The shepherds are out-numbered 1,000,000 to 1.

Are you beginning to get a feel for the scene? This is no place for the light-hearted. I would not be surprised if the shepherds’ hearts stopped, legs wobbled, bowels moved and bladders emptied.
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Andy Young | “Advent As War” | December 15, 2021


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  1. Oh boy…this is a spectacular article, and right on! Makes one want to stand up straight, makes the blood sing, makes the light brighter for not being sunk into a sentimental sludge. Here’s the good answer to the silliness that is Christian Nationalism. Here’s reality.

    • I fully agree. The reality is not a love song, but an ugly, and unavoidable fight on every instances and moment. The war is against the crawling lion. Unfortunately, too many people neglect it. And fall into traps and were captured and sinking down.

  2. Advent as war can also remind us that Jesus is returning to wage war against his enemies in judgment, condemning them to their eternal punishment.

  3. Dr. Clark,
    Thank you for posting this article.
    As I study Scripture references in Steve Baugh’s book, “Majesty on High” his thesis uncovers a pattern in my reading of the Bible. Dr. Baugh labels it “flat” reading of God’s Word. In the process of transforming how I read Scripture, I see the Kingdom of God more as a battlefield – our Savior/Lord came the first time to display and apply His Grace on His people and inaugurate the Kingdom of God. Now, in these last days/hours His Spirit prepares us for His 2nd Coming, the consummation of the Kingdom of God.

    The Advent now represents a spiritual battlefield (rather than a seasonal greeting card) on which the Child of Man/Son of God won The Victory on The Cross, is seated at the Right Hand of God, has imputed His Righteousness to me, and given me His Spirit. As a spiritual warrior against encumbrances and the sin that so easily entangles, His servants know He is coming to Consummate His Kingdom throughout all Creation.

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