When I think of Christmas, I think of the Normandy Invasion, commonly known as D-Day. Years of planning went into that event. First, and the most obvious, was physically amassing the men and equipment needed to pull off the invasion. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers, landing boats, airplanes, troop transports, weapons and ammunition, communication devices, food, and medical supplies all were assembled despite the threat of German U-boats that were intent on preventing the invasion.
Then there was the element of strategy. How could the Allies pull off a surprise invasion when the Germans knew that it would happen and would fortify the likely landing zone? We know now that the Allies used quiet gliders under the cover of darkness to allow the paratroopers to drop in behind the German fortifications and take the battle to them from both sides. Our leaders created a unique communication device—a clicker—so that the paratroopers could communicate with one another in the dark. They also used the Navajo language to securely communicate information because of the difficulty of breaking this code.
Finally, there was the sacrifice. The loss of life would be great; the human suffering would be greater. But the goal of freedom required it.
Amid the quiet pictures of Mary and Joseph and the Baby Jesus in the manger, we tend to forget that there’s a war raging. It’s a war where the two sides have clearly defined goals: freedom, on the one side; tyranny, on the other.
For centuries, the Triune God had been preparing for the invasion of His Son into the world so the intense battle could begin and the final victory won. Just as the Allies in World War II amassed the soldiers and equipment, so God prepared the players for His Invasion: the Roman peace, the Greek culture, the Jewish religion, a godly virgin woman, a morally upstanding fiancé.
Then there was the strategy. Despite the prophecies, the enemy of our souls never dreamed that the Deliverer would come in the innocence of a Baby. Perhaps Satan was looking for the Father to put His endorsement on a prophet or priest, already in the Jewish system. But he never dreamed that the Triune God would Himself take on human flesh to become one of His subjects. The defenses of the enemy—a brutal political world and a legalistic religious system—were no match for the strategy of the Incarnation.
But the War could not be won without sacrifice. Our soldiers at D-Day laid aside their comfortable surroundings for the hardship of war, in many cases not returning. But freedom was at stake. Our Lord laid aside the prerogatives of His heavenly home—the fellowship with the Father, the honor and majesty of His position—to come to this war zone and fight—again, because our freedom was at stake.
The pictures in our old newspapers of the joy of our returning soldiers after WWII are indelibly impressed upon our minds, as they should be. But how much greater will be the victory parade in heaven when the King of Kings rightfully assumes His place.
“Jesus…although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:5-11).
Dale Crank is pastor of Oak Ridge Alliance Church located at 109 Raleigh Road. The church is an accredited church with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, a missionary denomination with ministries in more than 80 countries and almost four million people who worship Christ under the banner of the C&MA each week. Pastor Crank is a graduate of Columbia International University in Columbia, S.C. Pastor Crank and his wife, Mary have three grown children.