The Winner

In the Winter Olympics of 1980 The United States had a phenomenal hockey team.  They accomplished what many thought impossible—they won the gold medal.  To win the gold medal they had to defeat powerful teams from Czechoslovakia, Canada, and the Soviet Union.  Their game against the Soviet Union was televised across the country.  People crowded around television sets to see if the United States could perform a miracle.  It was a very close game, with the lead changing hands several times.  Difficulties in televising this event caused the picture to be broadcast to the United States on a 20-minute delay.   Keeping up with the game as it was actually taking place meant one would have to listen to the radio.

Four friends were watching the game together on television.  As the lead changed hands their emotions escalated, at times ecstatic, at times frustrated.  As the game’s end approached when either side could still win, two of the men couldn’t take it anymore.  They announced that they were going to listen to the game on the radio to find out who won.  The other two men told them to keep the outcome to themselves and not tell them.

About 10 minutes later the two men who had listened to the radio returned.  The TV watchers demanded their silence.  They wanted to see the winning play for themselves.  The two who already knew the game’s outcome promised to sit silently.

In spite of the promised silence, their reactions soon revealed that the United States had in fact won.  Their behavior gave away the secret.

So the team of Tempter, flesh, so vulnerable to the Tempter, and World, so corrupted by the Tempter, were in contest with Christ, who faced them alone.  The divine infant, wrapped in our human frailty, lying defenseless on a bed of straw, looked no match for the Tempter and his cohorts.  Nevertheless angels celebrated the birth of this Winner sent from God.  He would lose to them, and by losing he would take them down and rise the Winner. When the angel announced Jesus’ birth, the secret of the Winner was out. The cross and the empty tomb were the final hours of the contest which began with his birth. Christmas celebrates the Winner from birth.   

In the contemporary world the Tempter and his allies appear to be winning, and the outcome looks uncertain.   But the contest has long been over.  All the efforts of the Tempter and his ilk, however fierce or frightening, are futile.   Jesus Christ is Lord.    

Merry Christmas!

                                                Pastor Rex