Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Advent as Invasion

On June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed on a 50-mile stretch of beach outside of Normandy, France. It was the largest amphibious assault the world has ever known. More than 9,000 Allied troops lost their lives that day, and over 100,000 troops began the march across Europe that led to the end of World War 2. An invasion by the allies was expected, but through countless espionage and misinformation operations, the Nazis were unsure of exactly where this invasion would take place. 

According to legend, after a 10-year siege of the city of Troy, Odysseus hatched a plan for an invasion. A giant wooden horse, the symbol of Troy, would be built. While the Greek fleet pretended to sail away in defeat, a select group of soldiers would hide inside the horse. The Trojans thought the horse was a gift to the gods and a symbol of the Greek surrender, and they brought it inside the walls of the city--effectively sealing their doom. 

The element of surprise is a powerful weapon of war. The enemy can't know where the attack is coming from, especially if the enemy is heavily fortified and entrenched. A good invasion takes incredible planning.

Both of these invasions were also full of risk. Had the Trojans suspected foul play, Odysseus and his men would have been destroyed inside the horse. Had the Germans figured out the Allied plan, the result would have been devastating. The Allied command took the risk into account and decided the Normandy invasion was the best chance of winning the war. 

Most people don't think of the Christmas story as an invasion. A baby seems like an odd choice for a conquering soldier. Bethlehem wasn't exactly a political center of the ancient world. 

However, the Christmas story is the story of an invasion. This baby was the conquering King of the universe sent to make things right. Bethlehem was ground zero of the greatest victory in the history of the planet. When Christ was born, at the "culmination of the ages" according to Hebrews 9, God was risking his Son as part of His infallible plan. Jesus describes the situation in the Parable of the Strong Man. 
Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house. (Matthew 12:29)
The strong man in the parable was Satan. He and his minions had been ruling the world for long enough, and Jesus came to tie up the strong man. His birth set into motion the climax of the promise given to Abraham and allows us to plunder Satan of the things he has taken from us. 

When we help those less fortunate, when we end the cycles of abuse and poverty and disease, and when we seek to save the lost we are partnering with Christ in plundering the strong man's house. Christ has already been declared victorious. The invasion was successful. We can collect the spoils of war in the blessings available to us when we share in Jesus' work on earth. 

In the greatest surprise attack in history, God invaded earth as an infant in a food trough and defeated an enemy who stood no match for the power of the all-powerful, compassionate, merciful Creator. This Advent season as we join with one another across the globe in our observance of the hope felt by creation before Messiah's invasion, let's remember to also be a part of the continuing "war effort," and do our duty to plunder the strong man's house. 

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About Drew

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.