Christmas: Reverse of the curse

Published 10:10 pm Saturday, December 23, 2017

By Ruffin Alphin

Special to the News-Herald

One of the more popular Christmas carols, “Joy to the World,” contains this line: “He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.”

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That’s it. That’s the meaning of Christmas. That is why Jesus came. The manger, the animals, the shepherds, the wise men, Mary and Joseph are all there so that God’s blessings can finally overtake and undo the curse. And it’s bigger than we think.

When God made the world He blessed it, that is, He gave it the ability to function the way He intended. The first man and woman were made to know God intimately and to represent Him on the earth. The earth was made to be humanity’s home, a place to care for and develop.

But evil powers sought to sabotage God’s intentions. Our ancient ancestors succumbed to temptation and grasped for more. Not satisfied with their role as creatures, they sought to be the Creator and the sweeping, sad result was God’s displeasure; the bible word is curse. Curse is the opposite of blessing. Now, not only would humanity’s progenitors fail to fulfill their role, their home would also fail to reach its goal. When the king and queen fall, like the first two dominoes, all creation falls with them. The curse would touch and taint everything. Thorns and transgressions, hurricanes and harassments, destruction and death would follow. This is the world we live in.

Christmas is the beginning of God’s reverse of this curse. Jesus comes to enable us to be what we are meant to be: image bearers of the true God, people who love Him and seek to extend His presence in all we do and everywhere we go. That means He comes to conquer our great enemies, sin and death. It’s our sin, our willful insistence on being our own God and failing in our responsibility to image Him, that breeds so many of our troubles.

Jesus is born, lives, dies and rises again to forgive us our sin and to remake us in His likeness. Romans 8 says those who know Christ are being “conformed to the image of God’s Son.” This is good news for those who know their failures and long to be something better; who want to be what God designed them to be. But there’s more; it’s far as the curse is found, and we’ve lost sight of this.

Jesus also comes to liberate all of creation from its fall. Again in Romans 8, it says the creation, the non-human animate stuff of the world such as trees, animals, plants and the soil, will likewise share in God’s blessings. When Jesus appears the second time, He will not only raise His people from the dead, defeating sin and death completely, He will correspondingly give them a renovated home, a new earth. When the first two dominoes are raised up, all the dominoes behind them will be raised up.

So let us sing loudly, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come.”

Ruffin Alphin is senior pastor of Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church, 3488 Godwin Blvd.