Children Crying at the Garden Gates
Ever have a craving for something without knowing what it is you were craving?
When Adam and Eve sinned, they lost the Garden of Eden. It was an earthly Paradise–no pain, no tears, no sadness at all. No, there was only happiness and an intense intimacy with the Lord. Yet they gave it up, trusting in lies that they might be more than what they were if only they would abandon their Creator. They even gave up the chance to live without the fear or even reality of death. They let sin warp their intellect and will, and pit their emotions against what they knew to be true and good.
And they passed it on to all of us.
We call it original sin, and it stains all our souls. It can be washed away by Baptism, so that we can be brought into God’s grace and have a chance at Heaven. But the effects never go away; we always have to grapple with them.
Even the craving.
Chesterton wrote that in just about every culture, there is a myth or legend of an ancient fall from grace that coincides at least partially with the truth held by Catholics regarding Adam and Eve’s Fall. They didn’t just pass on the sin and suffering. They passed on the remembrance.
We were not made for this world brethren, we were made for life with God, and we once had it. Yet now, here we are, and at our deepest, we know we don’t belong here. We crave Paradise. We all want something more than this world has to offer. We have a faint reminiscence of its music, we can almost taste the beauty, but then all is dark but for the saddest sight: God tearfully ushering broken man and woman from a place they can no longer call their home.
And the cry still echoes down the generations: “When, O God, when will we see your glory? When will we be done with this pilgrimage? When will we fly on wings of grace again?”
The glory of it is, God gives us an answer in Christmas.
When Christ came, God made man, He came to redeem us, to open the gates of Heaven again for us. Because God loves us; the very moment He sent our first parents from the garden, He was promising them salvation, a day when all mankind would have the chance once again at eternal happiness. Except this time, it would be even more splendid; we would literally be with Him, and by grace partake in His divine glory.
But first, the price for our transgressions had to be paid. The cost of the breaking of our covenant with God was death. As a priest once said in a homily, “By justice, we all deserved Hell. But Love couldn’t bear that.”
So Christ, truly God, came and took on our nature, truly man. And he came not as a mighty ruler, but as a tiny babe in a poor stable; He subjected Himself from the very beginning to our frailty, our suffering, our poverty. And so redeemed it.
Brethren, we are promised more than a Garden. We are promised Heaven, a Paradise beyond compare, beyond imagination, beyond comprehension; we are promised a home in the heart of Everlasting Love Himself.
Our crying does not go unheeded by the Lord. He has simply answered it in the most perfect and completely unexpected way.
He has answered our cry for Paradise with Christmas.
Rejoice, for He is with us, and has come to redeem us all!