Thanksgiving is past. December has arrived. And it is now safe to play Christmas music without fear.
This is the season of Advent. The word itself means “coming.” This is the time when we celebrate the coming of the baby in the manger, a Savior to forgive us of our sins and provide a way back to God.
All things began with God. All of creation testifies to His power and majesty. Men and women were made in His image to tend to His creation, to know Him and to enjoy Him forever. He made us for His purpose and His glory, and we are accountable, each one of us, to Him.
We know the story, our first parents, Adam and Eve – our representatives in the garden, they rebelled against our Creator, broke faith, and chose their own way. Instead of reigning with Christ, carrying out God’s will, we would instead establish our own rule in opposition to the Creator. We committed treason against the King and made ourselves His enemies, deserving the just and appropriate wrath of a holy and good God.
Now, at this point in the story, you may be thinking, “time out! What do you mean ‘we’? I wasn’t there!”
I hear your objection, and it’s overruled.
Our God is just. He provided for us fair representation in the garden. Our first parents were perfect, made in God’s image. Before they chose the enemy’s lies over God’s truth, there was no corruption in them. Make no mistake, neither you nor I would have chosen any differently had we been there.
So, after Genesis 3, everything changed. We are each sinners both by nature and by choice. More than that, we are slaves to sin, strangers to God, and objects of wrath. The Bible describes us as helpless, hopeless, and without God in this world. We are incapable of removing sin and recovering a right standing before our Creator.
God knows this. And before He spoke a single atom into being, He made a plan. He would come Himself and fix the mess we made. He stepped out of heaven and put on flesh and bone. Becoming a man, the eternal Son of God dwelt among us. He lived the perfect life we could not. He died the death we deserved. He broke through the separation and provided a way of reconciliation. He provided a way for us to stand before God again, adopted into His family, recipients of mercy, and heirs to a kingdom.
But not everyone reaps these benefits. Not all of us will participate in the work of Christ. While this glorious offer has been made available to anyone, only those who respond in repentant faith are included. Only those who recognize their sin and their helpless condition, only those who are willing to turn away from a life of sin and self will receive His salvation.
This is Advent. This is Christmas. This is the gospel. This is the work of God in Christ to reconcile sinners to Himself.