Before there was time, there was God. Residing in His eternal and glorious Kingdom, He was then, as He is now, the Infinite and Supreme Ruler of all. We do not know really what His existence consisted of before the Creation, but we can rest assured that it was glorious, joyful, and perfect. God lacked no good thing. Yet in the fullness of His majesty, He decided to create. And so it begins.
As our Holy Scriptures begin, so commenced the existence of all we know: "In the beginning, God created..." Looking at the blank canvas before Him, the nothingness, God spoke, and it was so. Spread before Him was a vast expanse, ready for the Artist's paintbrush. With the skill of a Master, He painted a masterpiece full of color and wonder, pleasure and joy. With words crafted together like the truest of musicians, God spoke, and He created a most beautiful melody as all of creation thrived, singing, "Glory to God!"
Do we not forget the wonders of our beginnings? Do we not get distracted by the cares of this world so that we forget to remember? We all realize the tragedy of the Fall, but do we remember the glory of the Creation? The glory of Christmas is not limited to the events in Bethlehem. It stretches back all the way to the beginning of time, and even before then. Christ become man in the form of a baby - this is actually the fulfillment of events set into motion long ago...in the beginning.
When we look at the Creation story and examine God's original intentions, we find deep and penetrating meaning behind Christ's birth, life, and death. We find a story that bursts forth with power, proclaiming a redemption plan that is so much bigger than we often give it credit. It enlightens our understanding of the Creator God we serve; it also informs our relationship with Him now and our anticipation of life after death.
It all starts for us in the Garden. Can you imagine what it must have been like?
All of God's glory was on display. All of the beauty in nature we know of in this world, all of the peace, joy, pleasure, purpose, love, everything for which we long - it was all there, but in its fullness. And it was good.
We couldn't possibly excite our imaginations enough to fully capture God's creation before the Fall. Let's not stop here, though. What of humanity? There are those existential questions we have all pondered at one time or another in our lives: Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose? The answers lie in the beginning, too. Genesis tells us much:
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. (2:5-9)
Man was formed by the hands of God, fashioned in His image (1:26-27), and placed in a Garden filled with beautiful sights and delightful food. God gave Adam, the first man, his purpose: to work and to keep the garden, God's creation (2:15). God then acknowledged a need in Adam, one that displayed the image of God in a most glorious way: Adam needed a helper. Man is relational, just as God is. So God fashioned Eve out of a rib taken from Adam, and the two were joined as one. Human relationship and marriage were established and blessed (2:18-24).
Then, it all was lost (3:14-24). Man's relationship to self? Broken. Man's relationship to creation? Broken. Man's relationship to others? Broken. Man's relationship to God? Broken. It is the greatest tragedy, a love story gone terribly wrong.
Yet even then, God had a plan. In the midst of this great tragedy, God prophesied of the coming victory through His Son, Jesus Christ (3:15).
We find that from the beginning, our God was never out of control. Even more, His redemption story was weaved into the fabric of His creation, ready to unfold and to display His glory for all to see. After all seemed lost in the Fall, God already knew how He would restore paradise lost.
And it was a paradise lost. Remember that! Look around you today. All things beautiful and majestic in this world are tiny glimpses of God's creation before sin entered the world. They are tiny glimpses of our Creative God who makes all things pleasant to the eyes, delicious to the taste, delightful to the heart, and hilarious to the soul. His was a creation filled with wonders beyond the imagination. Everything thrived in its purpose - to glorify God.
We can rest assured that He has been working His redemption plan since the beginning of time. As true followers of Christ, living in the realization of God's salvation plan, we can taste now the genuine lives for which He created us.