I hope you all had a MARVELOUS Thanksgiving! We did! We went down to North Carolina to stay with David’s sister and her family. It was so much fun catching up with them, seeing our kids play together, and cooking Thanksgiving dinner!
I love Thanksgiving because of all the family, the warmth, the cozy. Even more so, though, I think I like it because it’s a foreshadowing that Christmas is coming next. Christmas. Christmas is coming! Hope is rising. Anticipation is growing. Something great is coming!
I love Christmas because it is HOPE here with us. It is celebrating the greatest most extravagant gift of all time. Being a mother now, I cannot fathom giving up my only child for anyone– let alone people who would despise her. No way. Not happening. Maya is a slice of heaven to me. How He did it– I have yet to understand it.
And yet, He did– for us. For me. For you.
Even though we have this incredible gift, there is a lie that lives in the deepest parts of our hearts.
Does He love me?
Have you believed the terrible lie?
I believe this horrible lie all the time. Even being a kid who grew up in the faith, I really struggle with believing I he LOVES me not because of what I’ve done but because of who HE IS. I believe the lie that “lives in every human heart, whispering to every one of God’s children… “God doesn’t love me.”” (The Jesus Storybook Bible, p.30)
Reading this story in the Jesus Storybook Bible with my little babe before nap time, I was again captured at the simplicity and extravagance (how can such extravagance be so simple?!) of God’s love and the sneakiness of the serpent’s lie. It’s an awful lie. Christmas reminds me that hope is HERE with us, the mystery of Christ IN us, and the love of God FOR us.
The Terrible Lie
Adam and Eve lived happily together in their beautiful new home. And everything was perfect– for a while.
Until the day when everything went wrong.
God had a horrible enemy. His name was Satan. Satan had once been the most beautiful angel, but he didn’t want to be just an angel– he wanted to be God. He grew proud and evil and full of hate, and God had to send him out of heaven. Satan was seething with anger and looking for a way to hurt God. He wanted to stop God’s plan, stop this love story, right there. So he disguised himself as a snake and waited in the garden.
Now, God had given Adam and Eve only one rule: “Don’t eat the fruit on that tree,” God told them. “Because if you do, you’ll think you know everything. You’ll stop trusting me. And then death and sadness and tears will come.”
(You see, God knew if they ate the fruit, they would think they didn’t need him. And they would try to make themselves happy without him. But God knew there was no such thing as happiness without him, and life without him wouldn’t be life at all.)
As soon as the snake saw his chance, he slithered silently up to Eve. “Does God really love you?” the serpent whispered. “If he does, why won’t he let you eat the nice, juicy, delicious fruit? Poor you, perhaps God doesn’t want you to be happy.”
The snake’s words hissed into her ears and sunk down deep into her heart, like poison. Does God love me? Eve wondered. Suddenly she didn’t know anymore.
“Just trust me,” the serpent whispered. “You don’t need God. One small taste, that’s all, and you’ll be happier than you could ever dream.”
Eve picked the fruit and ate some. And Adam ate some, too.
And a terrible lie came into the world. It would never leave. It would live on in every human heart, whispering to every human heart, whispering to every one of God’s children: “God doesn’t love me.”
You see, sin had come into God’s perfect world. And it would never leave. God’s children would always be running away from him and hiding in the dark. Their hearts would break now, and never work properly again. God couldn’t let his children live forever, not in such pain, not without him.
In another story, it would all be over and that would have been… THE END.
But not in this story.
God loved his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan– a magnificent dream. One day, he would get his children back. One day, he would make the world their perfect home again. And one day, he would wipe away every tear from their eyes.
You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children– with a never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.
And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God’s children would miss him always, and long for him– lost children yearning for their home.
Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: “It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I’m going to do battle against the snake. I’ll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I’m coming back fro you!”
And he would. One day, God himself would come.
~The Jesus Storybook Bible, “The Terrible Lie”
At Christmas, we remember that he did come. To rescue us. To battle the snake. To get rid of sin and darkness and to conquer the lie that seems to penetrate our hearts. He loves us. He loves us!
HE LOVES US.
Don’t believe the lie. When you feel it start to creep in, read this story and hold onto the hope of Christmas. He’s coming for you and for me, because he truly, faithfully, undoubtedly LOVES US.
***If you’re looking for a great children’s bible, the Jesus Storybook Bible is my favorite. Check it out on Amazon!***