When I told people I'd be adapting the story of Gideon for the Christmas play, the most asked question was "What does the story of Gideon have to do with Christmas?"
Of course, all of Scripture points to Jesus, but I think Gideon has special significance both to the Christmas story and to our current situation in this day and age.
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and told him that the Lord was with him, Gideon's response was valid from an earthly point of view. "If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?"
Gideon's people were being plundered and slaughtered. Their land was overrun by the cruel and vicious Midianite raiders. They could do nothing to stop the pillaging, and it seemed like the Lord was doing nothing to stop it either. "If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?"
Mary and Joseph had a similar situation. Their land, the land that God had given to their fathers, was owned by the Romans. They had to pay tribute to them, even going on long journeys to complete a census on the whim of Augustus Caesar. "If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?"
Today we hear of horrific things happening in our world. It's easy to be afraid, it's easy to get bitter, it's easy to point to the darkness and say Lord, I thought you were with us. Why then has all this happened to us?
But Christmas is coming. Christmas is the ultimate answer to the question is the Lord with us? Because God came down to be with us. He was called Emmanuel, which means God is with us. He is the savior not just of Israel, but of the nations.
We are a broken people, and we live in a broken world. But Jesus Christ has come – He has come to be with us, to live in the filth and sin and curse of our fallen world. He has come to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found. We are shortsighted, and we can point to all the corners of darkness that are still left, and doubt His coming. But Jesus Christ came, was born and died and rose again and ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God, where He will rule until death has been destroyed. He has come to free us from the chains of sin and idolatry, to free us from the oppression of death. He has come to light the darkness and to heal the brokenhearted.
Gideon freed the Israelites. Jesus freed the world. He is God with us, He is God among us, and He is God who rules over us. He is ruling now and forever.
"The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool."