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.
// Genesis 3:15
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
// Isaiah 9:6
From the moment that sin, and death by sin, entered our world, God had a plan wrapped up in a prophecy He gave to Eve. The moment of Adam and Eve's sin was not only the moment of their fall into darkness, it was also the moment of a coming promise: the Advent of a Promised One who would bruise the head of that trickster, the devil, and put an end to the enmity that he tried to place in the hearts of humans, so they’d be at war with God. Though enmity would rage against the Lord within the minds of humans for centuries, He eclipsed its power to define the human race by promising that the Prince of Peace would come and put an end to the strife in our souls, a strife born from both trying to please God and striving against Him, as if He were an enemy. He impregnated their failure, as He does ours, with the promise of His unfailing love.
Isn’t it interesting that the earliest announcement of the coming Christ here in Genesis was the announcement of an “offspring” – a child? And equally so, when Isaiah prophesied of His coming 700 years before His birth, it wasn’t a promise of a Great Conquer but of a Child. A child. Think on that a moment. A child would be born to us who would become for us a Wonderful Counselor, a Mighty God, an Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace.
If you think about the four gospels, each one reveals one of those four attributes: in Matthew we see the Wonderful Counselor, in Mark we have a Mighty God, in Luke we behold an Everlasting Father and with John we see the Prince of Peace. And all four, taken together, can be found twinkling in the eyes of the Christ Child.
What if, over this Advent, we took the time to re-read the Gospels, looking at Him as the Promised Child in whom all the attributes of the Godhead reside bodily, as Paul put it? What if we were to see Him as the incarnation of all the Father esteems – counsel, might, fatherhood, and peace – summed up in the eyes of an Innocent Child, whose gaze is one of meekness and humility? What if we let ourselves see Jesus as a Child, leading us by the hand to the Father, and with each step we become more like Him: childlike, innocent, blameless, and holy?
What if our journey into childlikeness this Advent holds the promise that we will adopt and recognize Him who became our Father when, in Christ, He adopted and birthed us as His own children? We can learn, like Jesus did, to call Him Abba (Papa), Father.