It is St. John’s Spirit-appointed task to supplement the work of St. Matthew and St. Luke so that the nativity cannot be sentimentalized into coziness, nor domesticated into drabness, nor commercialized into worldliness. He makes explicit what is implicit in the Gospel stories. The messianic birth takes place out of the womb of God’s people in a cosmos resplendent with wonder. The entire creation is clothing for God’s people who are, Eve and Mary, mother to Messiah. The visibilities of creation and the invisibilities of salvation cohere in the action. The splendors of creation and the agonies of redemption combine in this event, this center where God in Christ invades existence with redeeming life and decisively defeats evil. It is St. John’s genius to take Jesus in a manger attended by shepherds and wisemen and put him in the cosmos attacked by a dragon. The consequence to our faith is that we are fortified against intimidation. Our response to the Nativity cannot be reduced to shutting the door against a wintry world, drinking hot chocolate, and singing carols. Rather, we are ready to walk out the door with, as one psalmist put it, high praises of God in our throats and two-edged swords in our hands (Ps. 149:6) Eugene H. Peterson, Reversed Thunder, p. 121-122
“a woman clothed with the sun” (v. 1) The woman in this scene represents the church, the people of God in all times and places. The church doesn’t always look like much, but from heaven’s perspective, she’s the radiant bride of Christ. The “twelve stars” probably represent the twelve tribes of Israel or the twelve apostles. The sun and the moon may recall Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37:9-11, so that, with the stars, they represent the whole family of Israel.
“she was about to give birth” (v. 2) The OT sometimes pictured Israel as a woman in travail (Isa. 26:17, 66:7; Mic. 4:10). Here the birth pains precede the long-awaited Messiah.
“an enormous red dragon” (v. 3) The dragon was an archetypical embodiment of evil, names Leviathan, Rahab, Behemoth, the serpent, and sea monster (Ps. 74:14, 89:10; Isa. 27:1, 51:9; Job 7:12, 40:15; Ezek. 32:2; Amos. 9:3).
“who will rule the nations” (v.5) A Quote from Psalm 2:9, clearly identifying the child as Messiah Jesus.
“the desert” (v. 6, 14) As with the wilderness for Israel after the exodus, a place of God’s protection and provision.
“Michael” (v. 7) The mighty angel who, according to Daniel 12:1, protects God’s people during tribulation. See, too, Daniel 10:13, 21; Jude 9. Let no one imagine that Satan is God’s opposite equal. He is a creature. He could not battle God – God commissions one of his angels to defeat Satan.
“hurled down” (v. 9) On Satan’s being cast from heaven, see Luke 10:18 and John 12:31.
“wings of a great eagle” (v. 14) God rescued Israel from Egypt on eagles wings (Ex. 19:4) and promised to go uphold all who trust him (Isa. 40:31).