Christmas, Main, Persecution, Spiritual Warfare, z406
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Joseph beheaded in a violent attack on a church’s nativity scene

The nativity scene at All Saints Church in Ipswich, England prior to being vandalized.
Credit: All Saints Church

The nativity scene at a church in Ipswich, England has been vandalized just four days after it had been set up at the 13th century All Saints Church.

The display was torn apart with the life-size figurines scattered around the site. Many of the figurines were damaged and will require a significant amount of repair to make them suitable for display. The model of Joseph had also been decapitated.

Why would someone have so much hatred and desire to ruin and destroy something that is not their property, and something that is there to express someone’s belief?,” The Rev Danny Morrison who serves as the church’s vicar told the Daily Mail.

What state might their life be like if they find pleasure in doing this? I am trying to make sense which I really can’t.”

The church has been putting up the Nativity scene for the past five years. It has a message beneath it that reads, “Jesus came to save us all.”

Unfortunately, the nativity was also vandalized several times in 2018, the first year it was put on display. However, the damage wasn’t as extensive as it was this year. In 2018, a CCTV camera caught a man with a smirk on his face vandalizing the display when similar to this year, Joseph was also beheaded.

Though we often look at the Christmas story as being a serene, idyllic scene, with cattle lowing in the background, and angels singing as Mary and Joseph hover over their Son in the manger, it was far from it.

The Greek word, stratia, used to describe the heavenly host in Luke 2:13 does not refer to a heavenly choir in flowing robes, but according to Thayer’s Greek Dictionary, it describes “an army, band of soldiers.”

A derivative of that Greek word, strateia, is used in 2 Corinthians 10:4, to describe the weapons of our ‘warfare’ (strateia).

These were warrior angels and the Bible does not mention that they were singing but rather praising God.

But why were they there?

Many theologians believe that we have another version of the Christmas story in the Book of Revelation, that reveals what was happening in the spiritual realm at the time of Jesus’ birth.

In Revelation 12:2-5, we are told when Christ was born that Satan, the dragon, enticed a third of the godly angels to rebel against God.

In verses 4 and 5, we read that the dragon wanted to devour the child, Jesus. Satan understood who Jesus was and wanted to kill Him in his infancy.

This open rebellion resulted in a great war as Michael and an army of angels drove Satan and his demonic horde from heaven.

And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:7-9 NASV)

It was this army of Godly angels, fresh from their battle with Satan, that appeared to the Shepherds on the night Christ was born. They were there to protect the newborn Christ.

Even so, Satan manipulated King Herod to kill all the infants two years and younger in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16-18), but having been forewarned by an angel in a dream (v 13), Joseph and his family had already fled to Egypt.

In other words, a bit of violence at Christmas shouldn’t surprise us. It is a part of the Christmas story

READ: Locals left distraught after nativity scene at historic Ipswich church smashed, with ‘Joseph’ beheaded AND ‘Barbarians’ SMASH 13th century parish church’s nativity scene and behead Joseph to the horror of worshippers AND So Much Hatred’: Vandals Smash Ancient Church’s Nativity Scene, Decapitate Joseph Figurine in ‘Barbaric’ Attack

37 | The other Christmas story

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