The LORD said to the devil,
"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."
Everybody loves a good prequel. A backstory or origin story can answer some of those questions you’ve always had about your favorite characters. What people and experiences forged his personality? What’s the story behind his quirks? What set the stage for her to become a hero? A prequel ultimately gives you a better understanding of such characters when you see where they came from and what fired their passions.
Do you know the backstory of the One called Jesus, born of a virgin, wrapped in cloths, placed in a manger? The Christmas story begins in the Garden of Eden. We need to go back to Eden, back to the beginning of the Bible, to understand why Jesus was born, what set the stage for His coming, what defined His purpose.
God created a perfect world without sin or death. (Genesis 1) Adam and Eve enjoyed a perfect bond of love and life with God in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 2) But the devil wooed them with a lie to doubt God’s love and to disobey Him. (Genesis 3) By trusting the devil’s lies, Adam and Eve broke their relationship with God and formed a bond with the devil that would lead to nothing but death. Now captive to fear as guilty rebels instead of captivated by His love as His children, they tried to hide from God. But He sought them out and made a gracious promise in their hearing. God pronounced judgment on the devil which also served as a promise to Adam and Eve, a promise which would shine as a beacon of hope for generations to come.
"I will put enmity between you and the woman," God proclaimed to the devil. God Himself would break the bond that was formed when they befriended the Liar. This would bring animosity against any who would reject the devil’s lies and humbly trust in God. That hostility would extend throughout history "between your offspring and hers." It’s seen in the very first generation of Adam and Eve’s children as Cain, "who belonged to the evil one," killed his brother Abel "because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous." (I John 3:12) God narrowed His prophecy and promise down from the many offspring to a singular He. God promised a descendant of Eve who would defeat the devil, asserting, "He will crush your head." But it would come at a cost: "You will strike His heel." The devil would strike a blow against the One who came to crush him.
This promise, this God-given hope of Eve’s champion descendant, is woven like a golden thread throughout Bible. The Garden of Eden is just the beginning of the backstory; it’s all the more remarkable when you see it continue throughout the history of the people of Israel, through centuries and centuries of rebellion against and rejection of the God of the Promise. All this set the stage for the coming of the Christ until at last He was born, the Promised One, who came to succeed against every temptation where Adam and Eve and you and I have failed. Jesus is the He who came to crush the devil, even though it would cost Him His life. He did this to restore us to that relationship of love and life everlasting with God that was intended for us from the very beginning. This was His purpose; this is why He was born; this is what Christmas is all about.
The beacon of hope continues to shine through every Christmas of every age. It has reached you here and now. May it fill you with the light of life eternal in Jesus’ name!
See how the blessings of Christmas extend throughout the year to fill your everyday life!
Follow "The ABC's of Christmas" series:
INTRO, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W
Questions or Comments? CLICK HERE TO CONTACT DANIEL.
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.