predawn

We have seen that to change the corruptible to incorruption was proper to none other than the Savior Himself, Who in the beginning made all things out of nothing; that only the Image of the Father could re-create the likeness of the Image in men, that none save our Lord Jesus Christ could give to mortals immortality, and that only the Word Who orders all things and is alone the Father’s true and sole-begotten Son could teach men about Him and abolish the worship of idols But beyond all this, there was a debt owing which must needs be paid; for, as I said before, all men were due to die. Here, then, is the second reason why the Word dwelt among us, namely that having proved His Godhead by His works, He might offer the sacrifice on behalf of all, surrendering His own temple to death in place of all, to settle man’s account with death and free him from the primal transgression.

Athanasius [1]

In great stories, we discover that things that were once lost were found.  In Star Wars we find that a good man was lost inside of Darth Vader.  In Lord of the Rings we uncover a long lost ring that needed to be destroyed.  In It’s a Wonderful Life we find hope desperately needed to be recovered by one man.

Like all great tales, the story that is communicated to us through Scripture has this lost and found element.  In the very beginning scenes of it we are told of a paradise that was lost.  However, while paradise was lost, hope itself was still there.  After the Fall, God offered the good news found in the protoevangelium (first gospel) of Genesis 3:15.

The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

Christian theologians found the hope of Jesus in the tail end of that passage, seeing that Jesus would crush the enemy who caused so much suffering throughout the ages.  As Athanasius pointed out above, Jesus paid the debt of our sins and transgressions.  The lamp humanity broke was not only forgiven, but the cost was paid for by Jesus.

In the Advent season, we look to the arrival of the One who crushed the head of evil.  Not only did he bear the sins of humanity through a brutal, torturous death naked on a cross, but he also will come again to right the world.  I find hope in the story that Jesus not only created the cosmos so long ago, but he also loves it enough to settle our account with death.  Dear reader, I hope you choose cling to this hope.

Do you find hope in this story?

——

[1] St. Athanasius (2009-08-19). On the Incarnation (Kindle Locations 364-370). Kindle Edition.

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