Genesis 3:15; Romans 5:12-14, 16:20
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and put an end to our sin, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
There will come a time this Christmas when you will catch a whiff of something baking and that smell will make you hungry. There are so many Christmas traditions that revolve around foods. We pass down family recipes, make special Christmas cookies or holiday treats, or try to figure out what to do with that fruit cake we’re given every year. What are your family traditions with food?
In the Beginning of God’s story, we see right away that God created Adam and Eve with a hunger for relationship with Him. We all have the desire within us for relationship with God, our Creator. He instructed Adam and Eve in the Garden to not eat from the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit, falling for and insatiable lie that it wouldn’t fill them up, so instead of satisfaction, they immediately felt shame and sadness. For the first time, there was something wrong with their relationship with God, their Creator and friend. Sin entered the story and separated them from God.
God had made a promise, and God always keeps his promises. In Genesis 3:15, He promised a coming Savior who could satisfy that aching hunger. “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.” (NIV) From that day on, God continued to remind His people of His promise to ready the people for the coming of the promised Savior, Jesus Christ.
Just as we prepare our kitchens and the tastes of our Christmas traditions are anticipated, we should prepare our hearts for the celebration of the fulfillment of this Promise given in the garden. How are you preparing your heart? What are some areas of your life that need to change so that Christ can be more visible? Are there some patterns of behavior and attitudes that need to be cleaned up? This is why Jesus came; to fulfill the Promise, defeat sin and death and to transform you from the inside out. During this week of Advent, release the grip that sin and self has on your heart by receiving the Savior afresh.
Spend some time as a family confessing any sinful thoughts, attitudes and behaviors, and then practice true repentance, which is embracing forgiveness and turning from sin to God.
Pull out a favorite Christmas cookie or holiday treat recipe and make, bake and eat it together as a family. Be sure to make enough to share with someone else, too.
O Promised One of Israel, Jesus Christ, Redeemer for every heart, come and save your people.
Songs for Worship at Home:
Hungry (Falling on My Knees) by Kathryn Scott
O Little Town of Bethlehem by Steven Curtis Chapman
Offering (Christmas Version) by Paul Baloche