As Christmas approaches I want to encourage all of you to think differently about this time of year. We are bombarded with words such as hope, peace, and joy, and all of those are great descriptions for what we are celebrating, but they only tell half of the story. The other side of the story can be described with words such as despair, war, and sorrow. And if we are honest, these dark words are a better description of our lives and this world.
I don’t know the specifics of each of your lives, but I know generally that it is marked with brokenness. Perhaps your life is defined by a failed marriage, a rebellious child, a dead end job, a chronic illness, depression, or substance abuse. Let’s face it, life is hard.
Too often, people accept this reality without asking why. Why do our hearts long for peace and joy, yet our days are marked by despair and sorrow?
The answer is summed up in one word…sin. Sin is described as lawlessness in the Bible (1 John 3:4). The laws that we break are the ones given by our Creator. When we reject His way and pursue our own way, we make a mess out of everything. If you don’t believe me, read the news. It is a constant testimony of the sinfulness of man.
Sin had its beginning in the Garden of Eden. The Garden was a paradise. This was where God placed the first humans He formed, Adam and Eve. God described His place and His people as very good. (Genesis 1:31). But all this changed with the appearance of the Snake.
The Snake is not some mythical creature, it was Satan, the most powerful fallen angel. Satan disguised himself as a serpent and slipped into the garden and uttered to Eve a very simple question, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). The question was loaded, it was a trap, it was slippery…just like Satan. And Eve took the bait and rejected the Word of her Creator and listened to the words of Satan, “Did God actually say…”
You would think at this point, that would be the end of the story, but it is not. It is the beginning of the story. From this point on, sin spread from Adam to all mankind, one generation after the other. (Romans 5:12). The world had fallen. Words that didn’t exist now existed…despair…war…sorrow.
But God, being rich in mercy, provided mankind with hope. In confronting the sin that began in the Garden, God said to Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
This promise from God of a “Seed of Eve” that would crush the head of Satan is the first time that we are exposed to the coming light of Christmas; for the seed of Eve would be a child that was born. This child would have the power to defeat the ancient Serpent and the curse he had brought about. Who is this “Seed of Eve”? Who is this Snake Crusher? Who is this child?
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:11-14)
Christmas…Christ…the Snake Crusher.