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the holiday season

by ava conley

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I would have to say that the Christmas season is by far my favorite time of year! There is just something about seeing the city lights going up and hearing the first Christmas songs of the year on the radio that bring back so many magical memories of love and laughter with those I love. But sometimes in the aftermath of all the gifts, lights, and carols, when they've all passed, I can easily forget the true reason that this is so special, not just at Christmas time, but throughout the year.

As I was reading my bible the other day, I was reminded of why I get the warm fuzzy feelings that I do during the holiday season.

Genesis 3:1-15 (NIV)

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then 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. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 So 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.

15 And 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.”

Usually when I read the story of the fall, I don’t recognize the story of Christ. Through Adam and Eve’s sin I am reminded of my own sin and shame, but through this text we hear the hint of the first promise! 

See if you can hear it: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you shall strike his heel.”

God did not leave us here! He gave us grace and drew us back to Him! But how?

God would become God With Us.

He sent His son to bear our sin and shame on the cross. He would suffer. The evil one would strike at His heel, causing real blood, real sweat, and real tears. But the Promised One would have the last word. He would cry out “It is finished!”- crushing the serpent’s head in a final blow. He would become God With Us, and when His work was done, we would never be separated from Him again!

When God could have left us for dead, he came to us! He did not leave us, but instead he came to us and drew us out by his grace. He is God With Us --- Emmanuel!

“O come, O come, Emmanuel,” thank you for not leaving us or forsaking us, but loving us enough to be with us! I am thankful that we do not have to run and hide, but that you love us!

I hope that as you have enjoyed this passing holiday season with the ones you love, that you have and will continue to experience God with you. I hope that in your ‘hiding place’ you see that God is near and he has not forsaken you. You are deeply and truly loved by the creator or the universe, not just at Christmas, but throughout the entire year!