Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
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.” Genesis 3:8-15
I sit here in the chaos of the morning having fought through standstill traffic to drop my husband off at work an hour away and listening to my girls who right now are dancing on the edge of anger in their words and their actions and I desperately seek the Truth that too often seems elusive in the day-to-day living of this life.
When life is at its fever-pitch of crazy and chaos and so many moments testify to the messiness of living in the world, I sometimes lose sight of the Truth. In fact, that tends to happen to me more readily during December with its busier schedule and hustle and bustle. I tend to lose sight of the miracle of God with us and find myself seeking God more desperately, often crying out, “Where are you?”
And then I read the words of Genesis and I pause to consider how these can be part of an Advent journey. This reminder of sin and deception and the enemy that prowls around seeking to steal our God-delivered joy, our Christmas joy. I contemplate these words and this scene and know that this is the very reason for Christmas. If not for this moment, there would not have been the years of God’s people asking, “Where are you?”
But what strikes me even more than this obvious connection of the Garden and the manger is the connection of Jesus and the serpent. Not the one mentioned here, where Jesus will crush the enemy, but the one from before the existence of the garden, of the man and the woman, of the world itself.
The enemy, the serpent, knew Jesus before the creation of the cosmos. This serpent was an angel who gathered around the throne of Jesus praising Him with singing and glorifying Him with all the Heavenly Host.
Did Jesus foresee the moment of the enemy’s departure? Did He notice the enemy’s voice missing from the Heavenly Host gathered around His glory? Did He mourn the loss of this once-beautiful creature who chose to leave His presence for darkness and lies and his eventual demise and defeat?
And what of this enemy who sought to be equal to God? Did he understand the words the Lord spoke to the woman in the Garden, the prophesy of the coming of Jesus and the victory that Jesus would have over him? Surely this lowly serpent realized the Truth for God’s plan for redemption was put into place before the things ever went wrong in the Garden.
In the shadows the serpent slunk, enjoying the breaking of the bond, the relationship, between God and His creation. How he must have reveled in the moment when the man and the woman hid from God, beginning a history of hiding and darkness and of God calling out to mankind, “Where are you?” And all the while God’s people answered with their own plaintive plea, “Where are you?”
Until at last another man and another woman of God’s choosing journeyed through the darkness to reveal God’s great Love. Until at last as God’s people cried out, “Where are you?” God replied, “Here I Am.”
The great I Am born in Bethlehem to bring the final answer that burning question of our hearts, “Where are you?”
Victory proclaimed in the cries of a babe in a manger. No more hiding. No more darkness. No more fear. No more having to cry out, “Where are you?” because He is here.