The garden is far from our minds now. Gardens have died and are now covered with a thin layer of snow. It all started in a garden. There our first parents were created, there they fell into temptation and sinned. Adam and Eve fell and with them all creation was cursed. The tree of life was closed off from them. An angel guarded the entrance to the garden. The garden was a source of life and now they would have to toil in the soil and fight weeds. Yet from this garden there is hope. There is a Word of life. When God curses the serpent or Satan as we know him, there is a word of hope in God’s curse. The Lord says there will be enmity between your offspring and hers. He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel. The offspring of the woman would be wounded by Satan, a wound on the heel, but her offspring would crush the head of the serpent. This is Jesus on the cross who rises from the dead.
This is the only time the Bible talks about the seed of the woman. It usually talks about kids as the seed of the man. This promise in the midst of the curse is that the Savior will be born of a virgin.
The Holy Spirit will overshadow Mary and the Lord will be conceived in her womb. In the garden there is a source of life. It looks dead, it looks bad, but there is a promise of new life, a promise of hope.
Sometimes our lives look dark, dismal and dead. We lose jobs, we lose income. Things aren’t the way they used to be in the good old days. The crop prices are low. We get hail or bad weather. Families are ripped apart by conflict and strife. People we care about are diagnosed with cancer and other diseases. People suffer silently with mental illness. We lose loved ones to death. War takes young lives and the survivors come back with lifelong scars. Car accidents and tragedies take precious people from us. Children are aborted, their lives cut short. People go hungry. Hurricanes, tornados and tsunamis take lives. We live in a fallen, broken world. We live under the curse of sin and death. We are tempted to despair and lose hope. We doubt there is a God who cares. We know right from wrong but we choose wrong. Like our first parents, Adam and Eve we choose to go against God’s Word. We break all of His commandments.
We are sinners who deserve the punishment of death and hell. We are hopeless on our own, without a prayer.
There is a spark of life; there is a glimmer of hope. My garden looks dead now, but underground the asparagus is alive. The plants have soaked up the sun and water from the late summer. In the spring they will rise up again from the ground and be thriving asparagus spears. In the same way Jesus came from the stump of Jesse. It looked like the royal line was cut off. Herod wasn’t a true king of Israel in the line of David. The Romans were really in control. They were imposing a census to tax the people. Joseph was from the tribe of Judah. He was in the line of David. The king would come from the offspring of David.
So Joseph traveled with his very pregnant wife Mary. They made the trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem. That was the city of David. Joseph was from the house of David. The true king of Israel was born in the royal city. They traveled there to be counted for tax purposes. It may have been that Joseph owned property in Bethlehem. They probably had relatives in Bethlehem.
When we hear there was no room in the inn we think of a hotel, but this word can also mean guesthouse or guest room. Mary and Joseph might have been at a relative’s house. There was no room in the living area upstairs because of all the people. So they were in the lower level of the house where they kept the animals. Houses were built this way with a stable on the ground floor and living area above. Mary and Joseph had to stay in the stable. We imagine there were feeding troughs built in the stable. So our precious Savior lay in a manger. He went from the heights of heaven in His glory to a lowly simple birth. Jesus humbled Himself and came down to save us. He humbled Himself from birth to the point of His death, death on the cross.
Jesus came into this world so He could go the cross, die and rise for you. Jesus came for you. The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. The Savior is born and God sent His angels to bring the good news. Angels appeared to shepherds, lowly people, some of the outcasts of society. An angel appeared and the “glory of the Lord shone round about them.”
They were afraid but the angel said, “Fear not, I bring you good tidings of great joy.” The angel has good news, the best news we could ever hear. A Savior has been born. Finally God has sent someone to rescue us from the curse of sin and death. The angel said “for unto you” this new child is born. Jesus is born for you!
Normally a child is born to their parents. We say you were born to your mom and dad. Jesus is different though. The angels announce to the shepherds that Jesus is born to you. Jesus didn’t just come for Joseph and Mary, He came for you. Jesus came to earth for all people. He lived the perfect life for you. He went to the cross for you. It is personal. Jesus is your Savior. He washes you in Baptism and He comes to you in the Lord’s Supper under the bread and wine.
The tree of life in the Garden was closed off. God didn’t want us to live forever in our state of sin. To grant access to the tree of life God used another tree. Jesus went to the tree of the cross. There He suffered and died. Jesus came and was born in a manger so He could go the cross. Jesus was put down in the wooden feeding trough.
There he rested with the animals around Him. Later on in His life Jesus would be laid down on the wood of the cross. On that cursed tree Jesus saved us. He took away our sin once and for all. When Jesus died the temple curtain was torn in two. Access to God has been made. Our sins are forgiven and they no longer bar us from being in God’s holy presence. Jesus opens up the door to heaven for us by His death on the cross. Jesus was born on Christmas morn so He could die and three days later rise from the dead. The angels were there to announce His birth and angels announced His resurrection from the dead. He lives again. He is the firstborn of the new creation. There is new life in Christ. There is hope for us hopeless sinners.
Angels were there at important times in history. Now the angel no longer guards access to the tree of life. Jesus has granted us access to heaven. Those who believe in Jesus are given eternal life. We can access the tree of life in heaven and we will live forever. All you have to do is believe.
All you have to do is believe that this child Jesus is the Son of God who came for you.
He is God in human flesh and He came to bring you to paradise. Jesus was born so He could go to the cross and die to give you eternal life. Jesus gave Himself for you. Believe that God gave His Son for you and you will rise from the dead just as Jesus has risen. He will bring you with Him to heaven. There is the tree of life. There is paradise. It began in a garden. God came to earth as a baby. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. He lived a perfect life for you and He went to the cross for you. He rose from the dead to defeat death for you.
The message to the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night is the same message to you. The angels bring you good news. They bring you the Gospel. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” We rejoice tonight because Jesus has been born. God has sent His Son into the world to save us. Jesus came for you. He died for you. He rose from the dead for you. The Savior is born and He gives you everlasting life.
You will enter into paradise, the new garden in the new heaven and the new earth. This is a place of life, abundant life.