Advent 3: Midweek

December 16

Bible Portion:
Genesis 3:8-15 -- Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Focus: 
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel (v. 15).

Reflect: 
Soldiers train for the unique challenges of darkness. Waiting maybe fifteen minutes, their eyes adjust to the dark. Only then can they proceed to make their way without a flashlight. At night, they tread unclear trails. Tree roots catch their toes to trip them. Is that a solid path? Turns out to be paper-thin ice over hip-high water. In they tumble. Passing headlights prompt them to leap into a wet ditch to remain out of sight. Car lights compromise night vision. More waiting …until they recover their night focus. Soldiers battle darkness before they can greet the dawn, at last. Light guides them on their way. Worn, weary, but safe, they make it home again. God’s light fills our inner darkness with his gift of joy!

Christ’s light and Satan’s darkness form two great biblical themes. Our Scriptures open and close with God’s battle plan. His light defeats the darkness: The earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep (Genesis 1:2). God is at work even in darkness: The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. God’s Word brightens darkness: Let there be light (1:3). Yes, and amen!

Genesis begins with God’s light to conquer cosmic darkness. John’s Revelation concludes in radiant light, revealed by the New Jerusalem. There God’s people see his face. There shall be no night there. They need no lamp nor light (22:5). Christ’s light dispels dark shadows in our souls. Hallelujah!  

We live in the “in-between” times—from Bethlehem’s birth to Christ’s final coming. The Bible reveals the outcome: Christ’s victory to cheer us in our daily struggles. His light shines into life’s realities. God woos us out of darkness: live in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7). Not easy! Plain impossible without God’s empowering strength! Calling out to Jesus, our Second Adam, he makes us more like him. Transformation brings true joy! Sunday’s wreath candle was for “Gaudete.” It speaks of joy in Jesus!

Consider:
How does God’s rescue plan transform and shape your life? When have you received God’s light, love, and joy? How does God melt your heart’s darkness? What causes your heart to rejoice?

Pray:
Lord of Life, we praise you. You gladden our hearts. We rest in Christ’s finished work on the Cross. Lord Jesus, we trust you for each tomorrow. Our future is sure in you, our Light, Joy, and Peace. Amen.

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