In a Middle Eastern land many years ago, where a beautiful river branched out to form four other rivers, there was a pristine garden.  Lush tropical trees and plants grew delicious fruit of every taste and texture.  A paradise of grasses and flowers under a canopy of clouds and sky painted a breathtaking canvas.  Musical birds and sparkling waterfalls produced a soundtrack of sheer delight.  It was perfection itself, the Garden of Eden, where the first man and the first woman lived in perfect harmony with each other and with their Creator, the trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  From the first moments of their existence, this first couple—Adam and Eve—enjoyed a close relationship with their Creator. They talked to him just as they talked to each other.  They walked with him in the Garden. They laughed together, sharing the delights of Paradise—reveling in the gazelle’s grace, the eagle’s soaring strength, the sparrow’s playfulness.  They communed with God as a dear Friend and loving Father, for they were a family.  And through this relationship they had everything they needed.  They had love because their love came from God.  They had joy because their joy came from God.  There was no hunger, greed, fear, or pain because God’s holy presence was felt all throughout the wonderful garden.  And God told Adam and Eve that the world was theirs to keep and that they were to fill it with a human family of their own.  For the God of love, their Father, wanted to shower his love on even more children and enjoy their company.  He wanted them to know him as their God and to love him as their Father.  But then something terrible happened.  A rebellious angel named Lucifer plotted in hatred to ruin the perfect family and world God had created.  Lucifer, who had been cast out of heaven because he wanted to rule his own kingdom without God, persuaded the first human couple that they, too, should rule their own world without God.  So he deceived them into believing that they knew better than God.  He convinced them to selfishly and sinfully choose their own ways rather than trusting in God’s ways.  He persuaded them to eat the fruit God had forbidden them to eat.  And so they sinned.  And their sin brought about a devastating effect on them…and on the world around them.  Adam and Eve’s sinful choice to reject God and his ways formed a dreadful wall—a wall of death—that separated them from their loving Creator and Father God.  Gone were their shared moments of intimacy and happiness.  Gone were the trills of laughter they enjoyed together.  Gone was their close relationship.  From that point on, God watched in grief and sadness as children—his children—came into the world he created without knowing him and feeling his love.  He watched them every moment of the day, but they could not feel his interest.  He saw them follow the sinful path of Adam and Eve that would keep every child, teenager, and adult from knowing and feeling his love.  The perfect and holy Creator, who knew no sin, watched as his sinful children separated from his very presence.  They were now disconnected from the only source that could sustain life and love and joy and peace.  He watched as his children had to suffer the agony of war and hunger, disease and heartache, which would last forever and ever.  The sin separated God from the cherished family he had created, and it broke his heart.  And at that moment when his heart broke for his children, he already knew how he would respond.  And this—though it is miraculous—is no fairy tale.  It is absolutely true.  God wanted so much to reconnect to his children and restore a relationship with them—with you—but God, being holy, could not relate to sin.  So he devised a plan.  He sent his Son into our world to become one of us—a child himself, a human baby—for you.  He who was God came to earth—in a virgin’s womb, as the prophets foretold, as the shepherds learned—to cancel the curse so you could know, so you could feel his love for you.  The sin of the first couple and your sin caused death, and the prince of darkness, Satan himself, held the power of death over you.  And there was only one thing that could cancel the curse of sin:  A sinless human had to be willing to sacrifice himself for you.  So God’s Son, perfect and sinless in every way, became human.  As the Bible records, ‘Only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had power of death.’  He did it all for you.  Though you sinned against him, he loved and accepted you.  That is the meaning of the Incarnation.  It shows you how much he wants a relationship with you.  And that kind of relationship is available to anyone who responds to his offer of a never-ending, always-with-you love relationship by believing and trusting in Christ as the Son of God, your Savior, Redeemer, reconnector, and friend.

Not the end, but the beginning, if you trust in the Incarnate One.