The Context of Christmas

By: American Decency Staff

We meet some of our best stories at an early age.

Stories of brave princes and fair maidens, of wicked witches and evil curses, of good kings and mighty dragons – stories that begin, “Once upon a time.”

Have you ever wondered how it is that we know by instinct who must win?

No child on her mother's lap cheers as Cinderella scrubs the floors or hopes that the prince will never find the foot to which belongs the glass slipper.

No little lips smile when Sleeping Beauty bites the poison apple.

No, we root for true love's kiss to break the spell; in those stories, when love is found, everything is right with the world – they get the ending that haunts the heart of every human: “They Lived Happily Ever After.”

Isn't that what we all want? Isn't that why we root for Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and all the rest? They seem to have found a way to true peace in the world.

As I said these are some of our best stories, but what if these great stories are so great because they point us towards the best story – our story. The story of humanity, our horrible curse, and our great Hope.

Once upon a time, humans lived happily ever after. 

They were in perfect contentment. There was no pain, no jealousy, no hateful hearts or marred minds. We had work which brought us joy, and the greatest joy of all was walking with our almighty Creator and calling Him Father.

Then our first ancestors spat in the face of their great God and Benefactor – the first sin was committed and the poison of the fruit seeped into all of creation.

Our good God could have abandoned his rebellious creatures to their well-deserved curse, but He showed us grace. He promised those first people that one day, one of their offspring would crush the head of the tempter, would slay the dragon and restore humanity to it's state of contentment and peace with their Creator.

Can you imagine the excitement of Adam and Eve each time they had a child? Can't you just see Cain and Abel and Seth on their mother's lap, hearing the hope in her voice, as she told them of God's promise that one of her children would make things right again?

Can you imagine their devastation as they realized the depths of the curse – as their sons began to kill and enslave each other.

Yet hope was born again with each new little one.

How many generations passed before mankind grew cynical, giving up on ever seeing the world restored?

Soon we began to place our hopes in riches or adventure or romance, forgetting that man was created to be with God, and that one day the snake-crusher would come to bring us back to Him.

That's the context of Christmas.

After generations of hoping, waiting, suffering, and longing, He's here! Our Hero, whom Eve had hoped for, finally born, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

The Christmas story starts way before Luke 1.

Throughout the Bible, God's people are symbolized by a bride. How can we help but think of those old fairy tales, when we are living this great story of the King of Glory come to free His bride, the church, from the curse of sin?

And how will he win his fair lady? How will he break the curse? With a simple kiss? Must he lop the head off our great dragon?

No, the carpenter's Son must take his wooden sword and stab the cursed earth, his own blood must flow from hilt to tip to cure the groaning world, but when it is drawn again from it's place in stone, we know who is worthy to be King.


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