Beyond Eden

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. 12 “And this [will be] the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” – Luke 2:8-14 NKJV

One Bethlehem night two thousand years ago in the obscurity of a stable manger was born the Son of God, heralded by the angels who filled the air with their joyful song, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men!”. The true significance of this selfless love act of God is beyond any human comprehension and yet its message still rings out today as clear as it did that night to those willing to listen: “there is born to us, a Saviour who is Christ the Lord”.

Good news indeed, because beyond all the machinations of man, the political wrangling, the jostling of nations, tyranny and rivalry amongst men there remains a light which can never be extinguished. This Light of the World came to us in human form, to be one of us and identify Himself with us. The Word become flesh, and those who would receive Him, He gave the right to become children of God. There is in Christ therefore the opportunity for change, for radical reform, for salvation. For despite the horrid evidence of our persistent sin, forgiveness is still extended to the penitent soul. We do not have a Saviour unacquainted with our grief, or too far away to notice every wound inflicted, rather we have in Jesus the most Divine expression of love ever to grace His creation, for He has become one of us, not only in appearance as a man, but as a man, the Son of Man as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. But there is more, so much more! For this Jesus, shall be the same yesterday, today and forever. He will not shed His human frame, neither lose His deity, but shall forever be fully man as He is fully God and therefore has permanently sealed His destiny with ours. Oh what hope secured, what love unfurled, no wonder the angels sang “Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men!”. This is the message of Christmas, regardless of what day or season, it is right to rejoice, it is right to give thanks, it right to proclaim its message loud and clear.

Some talk of salvation and the restoration of all things as a return to Eden, but I suggest not so. Of course there will be a new heaven and a new earth, but it is beyond Eden to which we shall be restored. For in Eden the marriage was between Adam and Eve never the consummation of a marriage between the Lamb and His wife. Adam was made of the dust, as are we, but we shall not remain so, for when Jesus rose again, He did not rise in the Adamic form in which He had been incarnated, but He rose all glorious. The body is sown a natural body but it is raised a spiritual body, and as such our bodies will become entirely compatible to be united with His body, as the Word declares, “the two shall become one flesh”.

This Christmas, may you know fully the hope that awaits you in Christ Jesus. May you receive Him once more, not only as your Saviour, but as your Bridegroom, knowing that He has committed Himself forever in a love relationship with you and will never change. He awaits you now, He invites you now, He comes to you now. Receive Him therefore, make room in your heart once more, beyond the busyness of Christmas traditions, beyond the despair of our helplessness, there is born to us a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain–perhaps wheat or some other [grain]. 38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. 39 All flesh [is] not the same flesh, but [there is] one [kind of] flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, [and] another of birds. 40 [There are] also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial [is] one, and the [glory] of the terrestrial [is] another. 41 [There is] one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for [one] star differs from [another] star in glory. 42 So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. [The body] is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam [became] a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man [was] of the earth, [made] of dust; the second Man [is] the Lord from heaven. 48 As [was] the [man] of dust, so also [are] those [who are made] of dust; and as [is] the heavenly [Man], so also [are] those [who are] heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the [man] of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [Man]. – 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 NKJV