The very first Christmas promise in the Bible is found in the sober description of the consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. The promise is that one day a woman would have a child who would attack the root of our pain, expose the cause of our sin and defeat the enemy of our soul. The first Christmas promise was not wrapped in beautiful bows or heralded by the angels, it was given in response to a dire situation. It was spoken in the context of the devastation that sin brought about.
All the potential of mankind had turned to dirt. The glory of God’s greatest creation was corrupted. The very image of God had been marred. It was in this dirt, this corruption, this ruin that Jesus was promised. It was in the dirt of a manger, under the corruption of the Roman government, in the ruin of an oppressed people that the promise was fulfilled.
Our hope for you today is that you realize that you don’t have to live in the ruin of sin that you can live in the light of God’s promise.
The hymn in the background of today’s devotion was written in support of Martin Luther’s reformation by Lazarus Spengler. After meeting Luther he warmly proclaimed Lutheran doctrine and quickly became one of the leaders of the Reformation work in Nürnberg. He was even condemned by name in the Bull of Excommunication launched by Pope Leo. Dr. Eck sent the Bull to the Town Council of Nürnberg, and urged them to proceed against Spengler, but they ignored it, and then sent him as one of their representatives to the Diet of Worms. The words of his hymn “All Mankind Fell in Adam’s Fall” reflect perfectly the proto-Evangel found in Genesis chapter three.
All mankind fell in Adam’s fall,
One common sin infects them all;
From sire to son the bane descends,
And over all the curse impends.
Through all man’s pow’rs corruption creeps
And him in dreadful bondage keeps;
In guilt he draws his infant breath
And reaps its fruits of woe and death.
From hearts depraved, to evil prone,
Flow thoughts and deeds of sin alone;
God’s image lost, the darkened soul
Nor seeks nor finds its heav’nly goal.
But Christ, the second Adam, came
To bear our sin and woe and shame,
To be our Life, our Light, our Way,
Our only Hope, our only Stay.
As by one man all mankind fell
And, born in sin, was doomed to hell,
So by one Man, who took our place,
We all received the gift of grace.
We thank Thee, Christ; new life is ours,
New light, new hope, new strength, new pow’rs:
May grace our ev’ry way attend
Until we reach our journey’s end!
With much love, The Downings