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Day 1
The Very Beginning of Christmas

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

GENESIS 1: 1–2

And God said, 'Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.' And it was so. God called the dry ground 'land,' and the gathered waters he called 'seas.' And God saw that it was good.

GENESIS 1: 9–10


What most of us mean by 'the Christmas story' is told in only 120 verses, split between the gospels of Matthew and Luke. With scant textual detail to play with, our imaginations have furnished wide-eyed sheep, woolly and worshipful; a star hovering tastefully above a rustic shack; and a caravan of camels. It's a jewel of a tale, the reason for the season. But what's the reason for the reason? Why was this God in baby form born? 

To unpack the mystery in those swaddling clothes, we need to start all the way back at the very beginning. This child came to save the world, the Bible tells us (John 3:17). No one would have argued with the fact it needed saving. Jesus was born into a world where a jealous king was soon to have a generation of baby boys slaughtered on the off chance one might grow up to take his throne.

But why save the world instead of just scrapping it? These verses from Genesis give us two explanations. Firstly, 'God created the heavens and the earth' (verse 1). There is a profound bond between maker and made. God summoned us from nothing, and every atom that exists is his. Secondly, this creation of his was made good. His universe is worth restoring, whatever the cost.

If we begin where the Bible does, with love and goodness and a riot of colourful creatures, plants, planets, and oceans, we'll see the value God has imbued in our lives, however grubby and small we may feel. The world around us is worth redeeming. It all matters. 

Jesus wasn't born as a human just because of how awful sin is. He also came because of the world's goodness.


Heavenly Father, please open my eyes to the goodness in all the details of your creation. Thank you for speaking it all into existence and for my life within it. Thank you that as your Spirit hovered over the waters at the very beginning, so your presence rests on me, your beloved, in this very moment and wherever I find myself throughout the day.

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