Gerard van Honthorst’s “adoration of the shepherds”
Mankind habitually maintains a chronology of the Nativity. But the true meaning of this event can be understood by looking deep into time, where the evil originated in the heart of the once beautiful angel Lucifer, who think to take the place of God. Loving Lord did not destroy the fallen angel immediately to the whole universe could see what sin is, and understand its destructive essence. Lucifer and the apostate revolt of the angels were expelled from Heaven and took refuge on the young planet Earth…
The first book of the Bible, Genesis, tells us that God decided to create the earth’s special creatures. Not as powerful as angels, but created in God’s image. God created Adam and eve with the same right to freedom of choice, which He gave to the angels. He created a beautiful garden called Eden. God has not allowed Satan to have free access to the man and the woman that He created to constrain the location of the only tree growing in the center of the garden. And God warned Adam and eve to stay away from that tree away, commanding them never eat its fruit.
But some time later came the tragic day that forever changed the fate of earth and humanity.
Eve didn’t have intentions to move away from Adam, but at some point, with joy inspired by their work, she suddenly found herself alone in front of the tree, of which they were warned by God. Now, when eve curiously gazed at the tree, she noticed how beautiful were his fruits.
– Is it true that God told you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?
Looking back, Eva began to look for someone who spoke to her. But she only saw a snake, sitting on a tree branch.
– How beautiful you are, ‘ continued the voice.
– Thank you! – she replied. – But you’re wrong about the fruit. We can eat from any tree in the garden except this one. God says that if we eat the fruit from that tree or even touch it we will die.
– It is nonsense! – laughed the serpent. – I know God for a long time and will tell you that He was only trying to scare you. You see, He knows that the fruits of this tree have incredible power. Anyone who eats them, rises to a higher level of consciousness. Take a lesson from me. I only snakes, but by eating this fruit, I can talk like you. And see, I am very much alive! God doesn’t want you and your husband knew what He knows. Why would He want to share knowledge and power with someone else?
“Here,” said the serpent, broke open the fruit, take it and try it. You have nothing to lose and everything gain!
Eva took juicy fruit, and ate, and then another. She felt pleasure from the unusual, the new and pleasant taste. It seemed to her that these sensations indicated the beginning of its transition to a higher level of consciousness.
Finding Adam, eve told him about her conversation with the serpent and gave him a perfect fruit.
Later that day, when Lucifer and his army jubilantly celebrating their great victory, Adam and eve heard the voice of God, calling them in the garden. Usually when the Lord called them, they joyfully ran to meet Him. But that night, “disappeared Adam and his wife the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8).
– Where are you? God Called.
– I heard Your voice finally answered Adam, and afraid (see Genesis 3:9, 10).
Today we see around us the result of this sinister lie. Alternative Satan does not look like that advertised the serpent in Eden. We live on a cursed planet, a planet full of death and decay. Since ancient times people hide and run from God. Sin causes alienation between man and Creator, and between people.
It’s the devil rebelled against God and ushered sin. In Scripture the devil is not a fictional character running from place to place with a pitchfork. He is a real entity that causes the real tragedy.
God has not left the human race to their fate. From the beginning He had a plan of salvation of mankind from sin. God showed us the way. He said to the serpent: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and between her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).
We need not be victims of the serpent, Satan. God put enmity between humans and evil. We can break free from his control. How will it happen? Through Born of the wife that was Promised.
Jesus Christ came into this world in Bethlehem as a Baby. He lived the perfect life we should have lived, died the death we had to die, and opened a whole Universe of wondrous God’s love. He met the accusations of Satan face to face and meekly replied.
If you ever asked the question: “Why doesn’t God do something with the disease, sin, mental anguish?”, the answer is: “He has done all that is possible in the gift of His Son.” Jesus can empower us to live a victorious life even in a world ruled by sin.
I will give you a great example of how this happens. It will be about the victory of John McCain and his comrades, who were captured during the war in Vietnam. He spent in Hanoi for five and a half years as a prisoner, experiencing terrible suffering. But the day came, McCain remembers clearly that when they were able to rise above the abuse and isolation.
It happened on Christmas eve in 1971. A few days before Mak-Kane for a few minutes gave the Bible. He with great speed copied many texts from the history of Christmas as I could before the guard came and took the Book.
This particular night, the prisoners decided to hold a Christmas service. They prayed, and then began to sing Christmas carols and songs between McCain read excerpts from the gospel of Luke.
At first, people were nervous and unnatural. They all remembered how a year ago, the guards broke into their secret service and was severely beaten. The most active is dragged into solitary confinement and made there. The rest were isolated for 11 months in a camera the size of 1×1. 5 m.
But prisoners on this night, still wanted to sing. First they sang almost in a whisper, not taking her restless eyes from the Windows.
Pressed against each other under the dim light bulbs, they were a very sad sight. These people, once brave officers now looked haggard and broken. They trembled from the night’s dampness. Some were shaking from the fever. Someone leaned on makeshift crutches. But they continued to sing.
As soon as the service proceeded, the prisoners became bolder. Some men were too sick to stand. But others supported friends, wrapping in blankets on their shivering shoulders. Everyone wanted to support each other.
When they started singing “Silent night,” tears rolled down their unshaven cheeks. John McCain later wrote: “Suddenly there came 2000 years ago, and if we found ourselves in Bethlehem. Neither war, nor torture, nor imprisonment… not clouded hope, born long ago in the quiet of the night.”
Friends, each of us faces an important choice. We have to choose between the two forces in this world. One force will try to turn us into vicious animals. Another force will work to Refine our hearts. In every heart was erected a throne, and there is a struggle for dominion.
The war begun in heaven continues. The front line is not always clearly defined, but it exists. We need to choose who will rule in our lives.
Now, relying upon the merits of Christ, we can sing the song of victory. Life becomes a joy when we trust in the one born in the quiet night in the little town of Bethlehem the King of kings.