Once Upon a Time . . .

. . . There was a great God who created the heavens and the earth, the trees and flowers and herbs, and all the animals and birds and everything in the sea.

He then decided to make a being in His image. This being he gave the ability to think and create and make choices. He called this being mankind and breathed His life into them.

This God lived in an eternal place of perfection, joy and laughter and great wonders, where He had created myriads and myriads of beautiful angelic beings to populate His abode which was called Heaven.

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However, a long time before, there had been a huge rebellion in Heaven, and many of the angels that had lived with God, had been cast out of that wonderful place because of their prideful choice to want to oust God and take over.

Because it was incredibly important for Heaven to remain an eternally perfect and loving and joyful sanctuary for those who gave God the glory and respect and reverence He deserved, He created an eternal place of exile for those who had rebelled against Him. This place was called Hell.

You see, He couldn’t risk the Love and Joy and Peace and Contentment that permeated from Him throughout Heaven, being destroyed by evil, arrogant, prideful beings who were only out to please themselves. Much like removing a rotten piece of fruit from the bowl so that it doesn’t spread its rottenness to the other fruit in the bowl. It gets thrown into the trash where all the bad things belong.

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Mankind, in the form of a Man and a Woman, lived in a Garden that God provided for them. They looked after this garden and all the animals. They arose from peaceful slumber each morning and sang praises to God before setting out to their work for the day. They lovingly cared for each other with all purity, and tended the garden God had given them as their home, with the same love.

Then one day one of the fallen angels, wanting to get back at God, manipulated and deceived the man and woman to turn away from God and seek their own glory. God found them cowering from Him one  afternoon when He came to walk with them in the garden. They knew the huge error of their choice to turn from God and were now for the first time experiencing fear. Fear and shame that caused them to hide from their creator.

That sinful moment, God knew He had to put into action a plan for the redemption of His creation. In their present state of sin, mankind was doomed to eternal exile from God in Hell. Because sin was now in the blood of man, it was by this bloodline that future generations would inherit this sin, and all mankind be lost to eternal death. God knew the only way this could ever be achieved was to offer the sacrifice of sinless blood.

So He turned to His Son, and He responded with a nod of affirmation.

Can you imagine living in the most miraculous and peaceful and joyous and beautiful place ever, and being asked to leave that place and go and spend 33 years in another land full of hatred, disease, strife, and evil?

Not only that, but to actually become a sacrificial offering to save those horrible, evil and sinful people who live there? And after  the incredibly painful and heartbreaking experience of spending much time with the people there looking after them and healing them, they don’t even recognize and accept the love you give them?

Well, this is not just a once upon a time story, it is the His-story of a God who gave His all for mankind.

This Christmas, I pray that we recognize the truth in the greatest love story ever told, and accept Jesus, our Saviour, Redeemer and Lord into our hearts once again, or perhaps for the first time.

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Because, you see, we wouldn’t even have Christmas to celebrate if it wasn’t for God’s great love for His creation, and His willingness to give us all of Himself for our eternal life.

He gave His all.

All He wants from us, is our hearts.

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