Summary: Speaks of Christ bringing the light of hope into a dark world on Christmas. Tells how Christ can bring hope to our darkness too.
The Light Has Come
The author, M. Scott Peck once said, “Life is difficult.” This is a simple, yet profound statement. It seems in this day and age like we have to work an eternity just to survive. It used to be that we put in long hours and worked weekends or a second job in order to get ahead, but these have become necessary for many families today just to get by. Sicknesses constantly plague us, from the common cold to horrible diseases like AIDS and cancer. It seems that as soon as we have found the cure for one disease, another worse one comes along. We live in a world filled with great evil, of which the terrorist attacks of September 11 are only one example. In our lives we feel great sorrow over and over. It seems that we’ve hardly gotten over the last tragedy when a new one hits. Loved ones die or become sick; it seems that we run around in circles just to survive; life seems to lose its purpose, because we can barely survive. Life is unquestionably difficult. Suffering is rampant.
The question arises, why is life so full of suffering and sorrow. If we can answer this question, I think we will be well on the way to ending that suffering. The source of all these things: hard labor; sickness; death; tragedy is all the same. In the beginning, when God created the earth and everything in it, he created man and woman: Adam and Eve. And God placed them in the Garden of Eden, a garden of paradise. In this garden grew all kinds of fruit trees that were excellent. The garden was well-watered because it was at the crossing of four different rivers. God had put Adam in this garden to take care of it, but it was not hard work. It was enjoyable work. God provided for them to eat out of every tree of the garden. … except for one.
Genesis 2:15-17, “15 The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it. 16 But the LORD God gave him this warning: "You may freely eat any fruit in the garden 17 except fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat of its fruit, you will surely die."
One day, Satan came as a serpent and tricked Eve into eating from this tree, by making her doubt God and convincing her that she could become like God. In turn, Eve convinced Adam to eat the fruit. Because of that act of rebellion against God, a curse was placed on mankind.
Genesis 3:16-19, “16 Then he said to the woman, "You will bear children with intense pain and suffering. And though your desire will be for your husband, F7 he will be your master." 17 And to Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate the fruit I told you not to eat, I have placed a curse on the ground. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. 18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. 19 All your life you will sweat to produce food, until your dying day. Then you will return to the ground from which you came. For you were made from dust, and to the dust you will return."
Mankind was cursed with at least things here:
1. Pain & Suffering
2. Hard work & toil
Into God’s perfect world, sin and evil and death were introduced. It was the start of a terrible, long dark night. For thousands of years after the Fall of Man, the world lived in complete darkness under this curse. The world was completely controlled by and given over to evil. All that was good suffered; all that was evil reigned.
In this world there were glimpses of hope, sparks of light. Even as God was passing judgment on mankind, he said to the serpent
Genesis 3:15, “From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
In this world, God chose the man Abraham and promised him
Genesis 12:2,3 “2 I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you."
Abraham held onto this promise with great faith, but he never saw its fulfillment.
And God promised the Old Testament prophets time and time again that a new day would come. He promised that although the world was experiencing a long dark night, one day a new era would dawn on the earth. The Old Testament ends on this note