The Season of Advent has begun with last Sunday being named as Advent Sunday in the Church’s calendar. So today, being the 1st December, the date on which traditional Advent Calendars begin, we begin a series of blogs which will take us through to Christmas Day under the title
‘The History of Advent in 25 People’
which title is prompted by the Radio 4 Series by Ian MacGregor
‘The History of the World in 100 Objects.
So today being Day 1 we begin at the beginning with:
ADAM and EVE
When Adam and Eve were created and given the beautiful and very good (Genesis 1.31) Garden of Eden to live in and care for, there was no need of a Saviour. All was perfect and they enjoyed face to face friendship with almighty God. It was indeed Paradise. It was heaven on earth.
It is a story we know so well but it is good for us to reflect on such well known accounts, lest we miss important truths through familiarity.
Each day we will only scratch the surface of the people concerned keeping to the bare bones of the biblical accounts of their lives which will leave you, the reader, to dig deeper.
So we have in the first three chapters of the Bible (Genesis 1-3) a tragic move from Paradise in the presence of God to banishment from Eden to live outside its boundaries with pain, and struggle as the whole of creation groaned (see Romans 8.22) under the effects of that one fateful act of disobedience. An act, the consequences of which we still live with today even though the promise of a ‘Satan Crusher’ has been gloriously fulfilled. We still await its final outworking with the Second Advent, when Jesus returns, which we need to keep in mind through this wonderful Advent season.
The banishment from Eden was because as Habbakuk tells us God is of ‘purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong’ (Hab.1.13) but, and it is a glorious but, God declared a future event when the offspring (singular) of the woman would bruise the Serpent’s (the instigator of the sin that led to banishment) head (Genesis 3.15) and the rest of the Bible is, among other things, an extended Advent story, waiting the day when the promise would be fulfilled.
The Old Testament is thus a very long Advent Calendar, at least 4000 years (no exact figure is known), but as with the Advent Calendars in many homes, being opened for the first time today, each opened door should remind us of what is to come.
It is my prayer that as we meditate on the 25 people (it is an approximate number so please don’t count and tell me I can’t count!), we will come to Christmas Day with a deeper more wonderful understanding of the significance of that event which, as Charles Wesley put it, was
Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man!