02 Dec Advent Week 1: Promise of a Savior
And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. —Genesis 3:15
Advent in the Beginning
Many of us grew up with the story of Advent beginning in a stable. But, really, the story begins in a Garden, a long time before the night of Christ’s birth.
When God created the world, all things were just as they should be. Creation functioned in perfect order and seamless harmony. Man walked in unbroken relationship with God, fully known and unafraid. But all that changed in an instant when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s good instruction. They took of the fruit, ate, and sin entered the world. Fellowship broken. Peace shattered. Creation thrown into chaos. Darkness, depravity, fear, shame, and selfishness flooded the human heart, separating man from God. Creation was fractured.
But in that moment, in the midst of the darkness, God spoke a word of hope: a Savior would come, born of a woman, to defeat that enemy Sin and restore God’s people to Himself.
Scholars call Genesis 3:15 the “proto euangelion” — the first announcement of the gospel. From the first moment of our need for rescue, God’s promise was there. God promised that sin would not have the final say and the enemy’s schemes would not prevail.
Shadows, Hints, and Whispers of His Coming
Throughout the Old Testament, God spoke to His people about this promise and gave them things to watch for in order to recognize the Savior’s coming. God revealed that the Messiah would be born in the line of David (Isa. 9:6-7), of the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10) and in the town of Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2). He would be a Man of Sorrows—crushed, despised and rejected— justifying many through what He suffered (Isa. 53). The promised Rescuer would be a light overcoming darkness (Isa. 9:2), a Preacher of Good News to the poor (Isa. 61), and One walkingin the power of the Spirit (Isa. 42:1). There were hints and shadows of Him everywhere.
“Our world is full of evidence that something is wrong and needs to be made right. The reason we celebrate Advent is because the story of the Garden doesn’t end with man’s rebellion. God makes a promise, and, as we’ll see in the weeks to come, He keeps it perfectly.”
God also reminded His people not to lose heart as they waited for the Savior to come. It’s important to remember that God did not fulfill His promise right away. His people waited a long time. They spoke of the promised Rescuer from generation to generation, enduring cycles of war, rebellion, captivity, and restoration. They watched and waited—anxiously, expectantly—for God’s faithfulness.
We can all identify with feeling hopeless and helpless, especially when it comes to the weight of sin. Heavy and inescapable, we know its effects with every breath—both our own sin and that of others. Our world is full of evidence that something is wrong and needs to be made right. The reason we celebrate Advent is because the story of the Garden doesn’t end with man’s rebellion. God makes a promise, and, as we’ll see in the weeks to come, He keeps it perfectly.
1. Consider Israel’s long wait for the Savior to come. How do you think God’s people fought against doubt, discouragement, and the temptation to believe God forgot them? Are you good at waiting? What makes some promises easier to wait on than others?
2. God often gives us seasons of waiting to sift and strengthen our faith. If you are in a season of waiting, what might the Lord be teaching you?
3. How strong is your confidence that God keeps His promises? Explain. Then read 2 Corinthians 1:19-20. How does this passage affect your understanding of God’s faithfulness?
4. Pray for yourself and those around you, asking God to open your eyes and heart to what He has for you this Advent season.
Click below for a collection of our favorite Christmas resources, in addition to the Advent Guide, that we have put together on one webpage for you. We hope that you will take a moment and review these and hopefully choose one that will help you worship well this Christmas.