Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.
It may seem odd to begin a month of devotionals with the topic of death. Advent is supposed to be about celebration, joy, and hope. It’s a cheerful time; why begin the Christmas season with such a gloomy, sad topic?
In the Garden of Eden, presumably not long after creation, the first couple sinned. They brought death into the world. Adam and Eve were punished and the serpent was cursed, but hidden within the curse is the promise of Christmas. The promise that one day a Messiah will come, and in his coming the serpent will be crushed (Genesis 3:14-15). In a sense, our hope for Advent (the arrival of Christ) was born in this moment with the promise of redemption. The curse (death) is the bad news — and we often prefer not to focus on bad news — but that’s where we have to start.
The bad news prepares us to hear the good news. It gives us the backstory, the reason this news is good news. It sets the stage. During this season of anticipating the arrival of Christ, we need to know why his coming matters so much. God sent Jesus into the world not to condemn it, but to save it; the world was condemned for its sin already (John 3:17-18). Jesus came to save! But save from what? As we look back on the birth of Jesus, we celebrate his life and death putting an end to the penalty of sin. As we look forward to his return, we anticipate his glorious kingdom that will put an end to the presence of sin.
So we begin the season thinking about the curse and death because Christmas is their answer. Christmas is about rescue. The coming of Christ encourages us as we see God’s promises coming true. Death is defeated. Life is here!
Catch up Days 1-9 of our Christmas Devotional here.