Looking Forward: My guess is that as you turned the page on your calendar from November to December, your first thought might have been, “Wow! Christmas is almost upon us again!” For children and adults alike, Christmas day is often the first thing that comes to mind as we transition into the last month of the year. Understandably so because the celebration of Christ’s birth is something that we look forward to with a sense of excitement and eager anticipation. Christmas lights come out. Christmas trees are put up. Christmas music is turned on. Jesus’ birth is certainly an event worth remembering.
While our thinking turns to Jesus’ birth once again, we do well to remind ourselves that God began thinking about Christ’s coming into the world long before the world even began. And did you know that the first promise about Christ’s coming was given by God in the Garden of Eden over six thousand years ago?
Jump in with us this month to journey through the Bible with the theme “Looking forward to the coming of Christ” as our tour guide. Since the first few chapters of Genesis are so foundational we will spend the first few days camping in the Garden of Eden. Our pace will then pick up as we travel into Egypt (Exodus), through the wilderness (Numbers), into the Promised Land (Joshua), then to a foreign land, and back to the Promised Land again where the long-promised Saviour is born. We will end our journey by looking forward to Christ’s second Advent.
Let’s begin our journey.
Picture perfect paradise
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” – Genesis 1:1, 31a
When God created the universe, everything was perfect. Pristinely perfect! Adam and Eve lived in God’s beautiful garden and pleasures abounded. Flowers to see and smell, birds to hear, playful animals to watch, satisfying sensations from the sense of touch, tasty food to savor, refreshing water to drink, cascading waterfalls, lush valleys and magnificent mountain vistas to view. And to top it all off – the closest of companionship with God and with a spouse in which to enjoy all these blessings. What a joy!
Adam and Eve also worked the garden, but it was pure pleasure to work in God’s service. It’s been said, “Get a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That’s the way it was for Adam and Eve in Paradise. In this state of supreme happiness and contentment, they did not have to look forward to a better state. They were living in a picture-perfect world. But it wasn’t just a picture. It was real!
Sadly, our experience of life falls so very far short of this perfect Paradise. It is hard for us to even imagine what life was like for Adam and Eve. But take heart! God will restore this world to its pristine and perfect state when Jesus returns. “Behold,” He promises in Isaiah 65:17, “I will create new heavens and a new earth.” You will be among those who enjoy life in this renewed creation if you trust in Jesus as your Saviour and the Lord of all creation.
Suggestions for prayer
As you worship today on this first Sunday of Advent, thank God for the promise of Jesus’ second coming and the new creation He promises to usher in when He comes again.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015.