Hope in the Midst of Despair
Prayer: Thank you, Lord that at the very moment when things go terribly wrong You are already working to make things better than we could ever have expected. Amen
Read Genesis 3:8-15
8Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
MeditationWhere are you as you start this Advent journey?
The tragic story of human disobedience that we call “The Fall” is recounted in Genesis 3. In a perfect setting, with uninterrupted fellowship with the living God, Adam and Eve were persuaded that they were missing out. God, it was argued, was holding back on them and they needed to assert their rights. So, beguiled by weasel words, both Adam and Eve broke the one restriction which was in place to test their loyalty and love. They ate the forbidden fruit.
The results of eating were immediate and calamitous. Yes, their eyes were opened, but instead of giving them new insight, it distorted and disfigured everything, spoiling and spreading into every facet of their lives. They became self-conscious, and, aware of their nudity, hid until they improvised badly with a fig-leaf. Relationships which had been open and transparent with God and one another were now marked by shame and fear and they resorted to hiding.
Yet God sought them out. “Where are you?” is not just the right question for them there, but a good question for us as we start the journey to Bethlehem. They explained their predicament but, when pushed, began to make excuses. The man blamed the woman, the woman blamed the snake, and the snake said nothing, because he hadn’t a leg to stand on!
There was no going back. Soon they would be banished from the Garden of Eden. To stay would spoil the Garden and it would be a long journey before humankind could ever return. The ripples caused by their disobedience would affect the environment, daily work, childbirth and family life. However, at the very moment when Satan’s victory seemed total and complete, God spoke.
Verse 15 has been called the “protoevangelium of the gospel,” the first hint that God was not wrong-footed. In a remarkable prophecy it speaks of a day when a descendant of Adam and Eve would be born to confront the snake. Once again it would seem that the snake would triumph as it launched its attack, inflicting pain and harm on the man. “You will strike his heel”- and such a snake bite is often fatal, as indeed would be the cross in the case of Jesus. However, the key word is spoken, “He will crush your head!”
However bad things become for the seed of the woman, whose name we know to be Jesus, the last word remains with God. The moment of apparent defeat will turn into ultimate triumph as resurrection follows death for Jesus. Christ triumphs over Satan by the cross, disarming him in the process. (1)
There is so much more meaning in the birth of this little baby that brings joy to the world at Christmas.
- Colossians 2:15
Watch Colin Sinclair share further thoughts on week one.
Slow down, and get ready.
Download the All Age Family Guide to the Advent Reflections for use throughout the week.