Christmas in Paradise

It’s an easy choice for me.  Take the snow!  Maybe it’s because I have been blessed to have lived in North Carolina for the past fifteen years.  Snow and cold are a novelty.  They remind me of the years growing up in Minnesota.  I know that many of you would disagree.  If you’re going someplace for Christmas, it needs to be warm.  Whatever you definition of paradise might be, I think that all of us can agree that it doesn’t really exist.  Movies have been made chronicling the troubles that can be faced when traveling during the holidays to find that peaceful get away.  Whether you’re home alone or on a plane, train, or auto, there is no perfect place or destination.

But in our Christmas Eve sermon I want to take you back to only time there really was heaven on earth.  The Garden of Eden was a real paradise.  God started his day off walking through the garden looking for a enjoyable conversation with the crown of his creation.  However something was very different this morning.  Adam and Eve were nowhere to be seen.  They were hiding.  This was a child’s game, there was a problem.  For the first time in the world there was fear, guilt and shame.  God doesn’t call down thunder to destroy the imperfect.  He draws out a confession, declared the promised consequences and curses for they rebellion, and then does the unthinkable.  He offers a promise.  It is in the garden of Eden that we find the first promise of a Savior.

The problems of sin have multiplied with the human race over thousands of years, but God’s promise is still true.  At that first Christmas he kept his promise fleshed out and detailed through the prophets.  Today we enjoy the reality of that promise kept.  We struggle under the same fear, guilt, and shame that Adam and Eve felt, but we have the joy of forgiveness.  There is real peace on earth.  Peace between God and man.  This is not because there was a treaty signed that brought an end to a war.  This is possible because the baby who came to a virgin in Bethlehem is our God, our Savior, and our substitute.  All that’s left is to wonder what paradise will be like in heaven.

Want to hear more?  Watch Christmas Eve’s sermon taken from Genesis 3.

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