“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying,
I love surprises. I love the mystery of a wrapped gift. There is an element of wonder and imagination that accompanies the tradition of wrapping Christmas presents. But I also love the anticipation and expectation of a gift that I already know is coming. I love the feeling of expectation when I know something I ordered is coming in the mail. I love the feeling of anticipation that comes when a promise is waiting to be fulfilled.
I imagine that after Adam and Eve were banned from the Garden of Eden, that they felt a sense of longing and anticipation as they expected the fulfillment of God’s promise—the expectation of a son who would undo the destruction of their sinful choices. We can see the expectation in the naming of their first son, Cain. In the original language, Hebrew, the word for “Cain” sounded very similar to the word for “Gotten”. So we find Eve making a play on words as she makes the statement, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” With this simple statement was more than a birth announcement, it is a theological statement of longing—a pronouncement of hope—the belief that God had not abandoned mankind to the consequences of sin... It was an expectation that help from God would one day come.
We go on to find that Cain was not the hope of mankind. He too felt the painful consequences of sin as he killed his brother out of jealousy. Eve looked forward to the promised son, but little did she know that it would be thousands of years before that son would come to earth. Eve believed God's promise, expected its coming, but she did not know the timing of it's fulfillment.
It was over two thousand years ago that Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby to be the long-expected descendent of the woman who is the hope of mankind. Jesus came to announce the kingdom of God and to conquer sin and death by raising from the grave, and he promised that he will come again to set all things right, to deliver a final blow to Satan and restore the perfection and peace that was lost in Eden.
We too believe God's promise, expect its coming, but we do not know the timing of its fulfillment. We live in a period of "already but not yet", where Christ has already come to set us free from sin's penalty but has not yet abolished the presence and influence of sin.
During Advent, we celebrate Christ's coming to earth as a babe, and we long with expectation for the day when he will return as a conquering king. So this Christmas season, as you wrap your gifts and plan surprises, may it remind you that the long anticipated gift of God has come and promised that he will come again. This is a gift that must not be wrapped and hidden under a tree... It is a gift to be enjoyed, to be treasured, to be shared with all people.
We have not just "gotten a man with the help of the Lord"... We have gotten a man who is the Lord.
And that's a reason to celebrate!
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"May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word." Psalm 119:74