Every day my children move from one imaginative endeavor to the next, transforming junk mail and paint, or old blankets and empty boxes into works of art. The sheer pleasure they take in reimagining purpose for my discarded scraps deepens my love for the generous, joy-filled Creator whom they reflect.
When God first spoke life into existence, he didn’t do it all at once. Instead, he named each piece of his imagination into reality. He was especially thrilled with the people he created. God took dirt one day, and a rib bone the other, and he reimagined a purpose for them by making them a man and a woman in his own likeness. He transformed these insignificant materials with his very breath, and he graced them with an identity and a purpose.
But the tragedy of human history came when Eve and Adam failed to believe the good God who made them. He gave them all they needed in Eden, and told them they could have whatever they wanted except for the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He told them that eating this fruit would lead to death.
When the serpent, the great Enemy of God, questioned God’s command, he narrowed Eve’s focus to what she could see, rocking her confidence in the invisible word of God. “You won’t die!” he insinuated. “Your eyes will be open and you will be like God,” he enticed. That was exactly what Eve and Adam were supposed to do—it was the great desire of their lives to reflect the image of God.
The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. (Genesis 3:6 NLT)
They fell for what their eyes told them was true. “We see delicious fruit that will give us wisdom like God’s!” But it was a sham. Becoming like God could only happen God’s way—in a loving relationship with him built on trust and obedience. They could not forge an identity apart from God, and their attempt to do so indeed led to death.
The children of Eve and Adam have since lived in a broken, bloody, perpetually dying world. None of us are who we ought to be. This is what is wrong with our world. But God promised that one day he would bring humanity back to the relationship he meant for us to have with him and with each other. The world and its people would not remain broken forever.
All of creation has been waiting for it ever since the promise was made.
The birth of a baby, Jesus of Nazareth, was the first part of its fulfillment. But we are still waiting for the world to be restored to original glory and us along with it. We are still waiting to be restored to complete fellowship with God when our faith in the invisible will turn into truly seeing God as he is.
The skies remain empty—we do not yet see the promised Jesus returning as our King. We do not yet see a new heaven or a new earth. But we watch, we wait, and we hope. We will not be deceived again. We will keep holding tight to our faith that every word God says is true.
We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control. (Philippians 3:20-21 NLT).
Our world is a mess, God, but we see signs of your restoration all around us. We sometimes see truth, justice, mercy and goodness in our world–and we taste heaven. But we want more. We want Jesus. Come again, Lord Jesus. We welcome you into our hearts, and our world, this Christmas.