The Storyline of Christmas (Advent 2021, Week 1)
By J. Aaron White
Advent is a special time as we, the body of Christ, contemplate the Incarnation and eagerly await the second coming of our Lord. During our Sunday services, we will read excerpts from Scripture and light the corresponding Advent candles. In addition to this, we will send a weekly blog that unpacks the concept from Sunday's reading a little further. We pray that these blogs serve you in your personal devotions, family worship, etc. as you see God's sovereign power at work in the storyline of Christmas!
Reading – Genesis 3:8-15
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 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.”
Verse 15 is often called the first Gospel. Although Adam and Eve were punished for their disobedience, God graciously made a promise that he would send a snake-crushing Redeemer to save his people from their sin. The great London preacher, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, wrote the following about this passage:
"Man fell from his first estate. He was driven out of paradise, and the flaming sword made it impossible to get back. Life is full of toil. We are contending with thorns and thistles. Children are brought forth in pain and suffering. Death has come in. The world is in a state of chaos. That is the position in which we find ourselves. But then God enters the picture! History does not end at that point. That is not the end of the story. And that is why I call myself a minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Into this hopelessness and wretchedness and despair comes a pronouncement and a proclamation. God is revealing to us his plan and purpose."
The storyline of Christmas begins with the good news of grace and mercy. Christmas is filled with hope for sinners because God promised to send a Redeemer who would crush the enemies that threaten them: sin, Satan, death, and the holy wrath of God. We light this candle with thankful anticipation of the coming of the Savior.