“It Began with a Tree” by Greg Laurie
And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. – (Genesis 2:9)
The Christmas story begins with a tree, but not the kind of Christmas tree with brightly colored lights or ornaments. The Christmas story begins with a tree called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in the Garden of Eden.
God had given Adam and Eve only one restriction in that literal paradise: stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But before long, that’s just where we find them. Of course, we know the rest of the story. They listened to the serpent and ate the forbidden fruit. And once that happened, they lost their sweet fellowship with God.
A few verses later, we come to the first Christmas verse in the Bible, where God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
Here the battle lines were drawn. The Devil knew this Messiah would come—and that He would come from the Jewish people. So he tried to stop that from taking place.
Really, as we look at the Christmas story, we realize that it doesn’t begin in Matthew or Luke. It begins in the Old Testament. Before there was a world, before there were planets, before there was light and darkness, before there was matter, before there was anything but the Godhead, there was Jesus—coequal, coeternal, and coexistent with the Father and Holy Spirit. He was with God. He was God.
Jesus Christ became human without ceasing to be God. He did not become identical to us, but He became identified with us. The real message of Christmas is that God came to this earth. The real message of Christmas is Immanuel, God is with us.
(Devotional credit: Greg Laurie, Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship)