Advent Day 1 – The Protoevangelium and Waiting

Genesis 3:15. I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

These are the words God spoke to the serpent in the Garden of Eden after the fall of mankind. These words are sometimes called the protoevangelium. The first gospel. When the worst thing in human history happened what was God’s response? When evil, chaos, and corruption invaded creation what did God do? He made a promise. A promise that set off the first advent season (advent means arrival). It would take thousands of years for this promise to be realized.

What did God promise? He promised a baby. An offspring. A human baby from the genealogy of Eve. But how on earth does this help? How does it solve the problem that man’s selfishness caused? How does it crush the head of the serpent? Well, like we said, it would take thousands of years for that question to be answered. A whole lot happened between this promise and the fulfillment. A flood. The formation of a family. Slavery and exodus. The rise and fall of a nation. Kings and wars. An exile. A new city. A new temple. A whole lot of silence. And a whole lot of waiting.

And so here we are waiting once again for Christmas. True, we wait from the other side of the cross. Yes, the protoevangelium has been fulfilled, 2000 years ago. Eve’s child was born. Jesus Christ lived and died and rose to give us his life.

And yet we still wait. Because everything Genesis 3:15 promised has not fully happened. Our heels are still getting bit by that snake every day. His serpent head appears to be fine most days. The baby has come and gone. Yes, he died on the cross. Yes he rose again. Yes he made another promise. A promise to return again. But how long? How much longer is this going to take?

And so, once again, just like from the Garden, waiting is the posture that God requires of us. A posture that will either make us or break us. Waiting has the power to undo us. To drive us into the tyranny of busyness. It causes and reveals our impatience. It causes the anxiety that comes from knowing that we’ve left so many things undone. It makes us believe that we’re just not ready yet.

We’re constantly torn between “I need more time,” and “When is this ever going to happen?” “I’m not ready to die” (FOMO) and “Come quickly Lord Jesus.”

For us who believe that “to live is Christ” we must surrender control. Waiting is only a crisis when we have to be in control. But faith trusts the promise. The promise of the coming good news. No longer the protoevangelium, but the final evangelium. Here in the waiting faith trusts the promise that we have been joined to the offspring. Yes, he came and left, but he came again as the Spirit of life. The child of Eve is our life, our guarantee. Our promise made good.

God is really good at waiting. So today, as we wait, let’s be reminded that God always keeps his promise. And that the waiting is his way of making sure his promises have the maximum impact on all of history, and on your heart.

Do you hate waiting? Are you waiting for Christ’s return? How’s that going? How does your union with Christ sustain you in that waiting?

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