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.
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….