December 2019

Have you come across Edgar yet? He is the star of the John Lewis advert for 2019. In case you haven’t seen it yet, Edgar is a dragon!

You might well ask what a dragon is doing in a Christmas advert and even after watching it you may still be slightly mystified. However, based as it is in history it’s a safe bet that the original Christmas events recorded for us 2000 years ago did not feature any dragons. Shepherds, wise men, angels … yes, but there is no record of a dragon. Given that dragons are figures of mythology rather than history that’s not surprising. Yet, in one particular re-telling of the Christmas story a dragon does actually make an appearance!

The passage is Revelation 12 and the apostle John uses apocalyptic language and imagery to provide encouragement and reassurance to Christian believers going through difficult days. The chapter is a little bit like a child’s pop-up book, where the story-line comes alive in 3 dimensions. Amidst battles between archangels and a dragon a woman gives birth to a boy. The child is pursued relentlessly by the dragon but is kept safe. It’s John’s version of the nativity though not one usually acted out in school productions! The overall message is that God wins!

As we track back to the more familiar territory of Matthew 2 we see King Herod behaving like the dragon of Revelation 2. Furious about hearing of a rival king he unleashes a reign of terror on unsuspecting families. But he cannot thwart God’s purposes. Pharaoh also unleashed a genocide back in the days of Moses and he is described as a dragon [see Ezekiel 29:3 ESV]. The point is that though all the powers of evil combine against the Lord Jesus and His people all through history they cannot succeed. The child will indeed become the ruler of all nations [see Revelation 12:5] which is exactly the same point made in Matthew 2:11 as the wise men bow before Jesus and present their gifts to Him.

If you want to explore this theme further then turn to Andrew Sach’s book “The Weirdest Nativity” (available from the book shop) or to Glen Scrivener’s youtube clip

So, if you come across Edgar the dragon from John Lewis let it be a reminder that the Lord Jesus came to fight a cosmic battle against all the forces of evil. The One who came as a baby now reigns.

Angus MacLeay

Rector St Nicholas