Monday, December 16, 2013

Why Christmas? Because Everything is Broken.

(Part 3 of 4.)

All of us have at some time turned on a mystery television show or movie well into the story line and found that because we missed the beginning we can’t follow the plot.  I’ll do that sometimes to my wife…walk in on the middle of a drama and during the next commercial ask, “What’s this all about?”  And she’ll try during the commercial break to fill me in enough so I can grasp what is happening.

Even though Christmas is about a birth, and in many ways the ushering in of something new, it’s far from the beginning of the story.  In fact, it’s closer to the end.  And if you never read or understood the third chapter of Genesis, which is back at the beginning, you could never fully grasp the need for Bethlehem’s babe.  And, as we’ll see next week, the incarnation of the Son of God – the Christmas story – was only the first paragraph of the final chapter of the story.

Maybe it is for this reason that Christmas truly has become a most misunderstood celebration.  The plea of the familiar children’s Christmas song to “be good for goodness sake” is one example of that misunderstanding because it proposes the impossible.  We can’t be good for goodness sake because we are by nature broken.  The solution is not to try to be good.  The solution is to be fixed by our Maker.

After God created the heavens and the earth and pronounced it “very good” He then placed the first of our kind, Adam and Eve, in a garden of perfection where every need they might have was met by God in creation.  Their Father provided food, shelter, vocation, and companionship all. 

He also placed within their daily view a test.  God did not create us as robots, but with a free will to choose right from wrong.  That test, at fruit bearing tree, was the only one of its kind and served as a proof of Adam and Eve’s love for their Father.  Jesus, in His teaching would state that principal this way: “If you love me keep my commandments.”  So there was a tension within paradise.  There stood the forbidden tree.  With it came a warning from God: eat from it and die.

Death was never intended for mankind.  Life was to be enjoyed and spent in fellowship with God and with one another, and meant to last forever on a perfect earth.  I don’t know if Adam and Eve were actually tempted to cross that line and eat the tree’s fruit prior to Genesis 3 and if they were how difficult was the temptation.  We’re not told.  Neither are we told how long into their lives it was when the day of infamy came.  But no doubt the restriction from God and the warning were a daily remembrance that kept them from falling.  That is until one fateful day.

Satan, the deposed worship leader of heaven who led a rebellion of angels against God had been cast down to the earth.  And it became his goal to foil and spoil what God had done – create a being with the ability to choose.  So Genesis 3 gives us the story of how Eve, then Adam failed, going from perfection to depravity.  It’s not a pretty story when you realize all that was lost, not only for the first couple, but for all of their descendants. 

Some have commented that the third chapter of Genesis is the most important theologically in all the Bible.  The impact of that fall, becoming sinners by choice has infected every human born since. We all start dying the moment we are born! 

And that’s why Christmas is indeed the total opposite.  That’s why Christmas is supposed to be merry!  It brings the Good News that God didn’t give up on His creation and that He has the fix to our brokenness.  That’s where we’ll go next week.

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