And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life, Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Genesis 3:13-19

The Christmas story begins almost at the commencement of human and world history.

Not quite the beginning, because our first parents were initially blessed with everlasting life in a disease free paradise. But then arrived that fateful day when the forbidden fruit was consumed and they bequeathed to their successors a history of brokenness, illness, chaos, disaster, tears, bloodshed and death.

From that moment man became a cursed creature in need of redemption.

Where once the arrival of the Lord God into Eden was greeted with welcoming smiles, on this day Adam and Eve trembled as they heard His voice. Covering themselves with fig leaves they attempted to hide from God; many have tried this since and have failed, a futile exercise.

Yet there was pity and compassion in the voice that sounded throughout the garden, “Adam where art thou?” It was a strange mixture of grief, anger and love. With heads hung low the guilty pair came trembling.

The stage was set for the judgement of humanity and the affliction of the curse, which we experience to this day.

But the arrival of the Lord God into Eden, to confront His rebellious creatures also marked the beginning of the story of redemption.

Another was present at that interview; Lucifer, the fallen angel who had cunningly beguiled Eve. Turning his attention to Lucifer, in his snake like-form, God announced His great plan for humanity, a plan which would not be thwarted.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel

Genesis 3:15

While the woman would suffer through child bearing, there would be one woman, who would give birth to one man who would bring freedom and healing to ruined human nature. He would suffer, in that His heel would be bruised but with that heel He would conquer Satan and all the powers of darkness. And so with the illustration of two wrestlers locked in mortal combat, Lucifer was given the picture of his head on the ground crushed against the dust by the heel of his bleeding conqueror.

From that moment Satan watched with paranoid horror for the arrival of this Saviour. Adam and Eve too watched for His arrival, not in fear but in hope. The entire Old Testament would be taken up by this theme – the coming of the Messiah, Saviour, Redeemer.

Finally, in the fullness of the time, Jesus Christ would be born of a woman, bringing hope through His sufferings and triumphs.

And so the Christmas story begins….

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