Advent Week 1: Why We Could Not Be With God
Advent means “coming”. Jesus Christ has come and he will come again. Advent season is about rejoicing in the reality that God came to be with us in the person of Jesus Christ so that we could be with him forever. It is a celebration of Jesus’ first coming in humility and it produces eager anticipation for his second coming in glory. This season is a time for remembering and rejoicing, watching and waiting. Follow along with us this Christmas season as we anticipate and celebrate the birth of Jesus together.
ADVENT: WEEK 1
WHY WE COULD NOT BE WITH GOD
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is decorating the Christmas tree. For me, the Christmas tree starts the countdown to Christmas. I love to wrap lights around the tree. I love to carefully hang ornaments on each branch. I love to place a star on the top of the tree. This twinkling, gleaming tree is a sign that announces Christmas is coming soon.
But the Christmas tree is not the only tree we should think about this season. There are three other trees that are important. During Christmas, these trees are often ignored. These trees aren’t part of family traditions. We don’t sing Christmas carols about these trees. Two of these trees are among the first trees ever created. These trees didn’t have twinkling lights, gleaming ornaments or shining stars hanging off their branches.
When God created Adam and Eve he placed them in a beautiful garden filled with plants, flowers and trees. This garden was beyond beautiful. Imagine a garden so perfect there wasn’t a single weed. In the middle of this garden there were two trees: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. These were special trees.
God told Adam and Eve they could eat the fruit from every tree except for one tree. God said, “you cannot eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Everything was perfect. Adam and Eve lived happily in their beautiful new home… until a slithering snake opened his mouth. This snake was evil, yet this snake was smart. He knew exactly what to whisper to deceive Adam and Eve.
The snake hissed lies and tempted Adam and Eve to sin. Adam and Eve disobeyed what God told them and they ate the forbidden fruit hanging from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve trusted the snake more than God, and for the first time ever, they knew evil. When their eyes were opened, they knew they had done something wrong. They felt ashamed. They were afraid. They knew they were in trouble so they tried to hide from God.
Even though God was with them, and everything was perfect, they selfishly wanted more. From this moment on, people would forever have evil in their hearts and this evil is what separates mankind from God. Why can’t we be with God forever? One word: sin. But this isn’t where the story ends, because there are still two more trees.
Since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, God had to banish them from their home in the garden. The reason they couldn’t stay in the garden was because God didn’t want them to eat the fruit from the other tree—the tree of life. If Adam and Eve ate this fruit, they would live forever. He didn’t want them to live forever separated from him. Out of love, God kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden. Sadly, this meant their relationship with God would change dramatically.
The third tree wasn’t found in the garden, but in Genesis 3, God promised it would come. This tree wouldn’t hold fruit, instead it would hold the body of God himself. One day, God would come. One day, God would battle the snake and crush his head. He would do this through his son, Jesus. Hanging on a tree, Jesus would die for mankind. Jesus’ death would make it possible to bring mankind back to God so that we no longer have to hide or be afraid. This rugged tree held the One who conquered sin, removed shame, wiped away guilt and defeated death. This tree promised that one day, God would be with us again and make it possible for us to be with him forever. This tree is God’s plan to fix everything. This tree was the cross–the most important tree.
How can you add the most important tree, the cross, to your Christmas celebration to remember what God promised in Genesis 3? This week, consider making a cross to hang on your Christmas tree.
Read Revelation 22:1–7. What do these verses tell us about God’s new garden in heaven?
Take time to thank God for the tree of life and the cross.