The scene is not Bethlehem, but a Garden. There are no wise-men, no mangers. There is a man and his wife. She has taken a bite of a fruit, she has passed it on to her husband. Suddenly shame fills them both. Some call this “the Fall”--look closely you can almost see a spike driving apart creation from it’s Creator.
It was evening when “the man and his wife heard the sound [... of] God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”’
If you listen closely you can hear the pain in God’s voice, where are you? “Where are you?” He asks as the man and woman hide among the leaves. A question that is not, of course, fully a question, because God knows the answer; He asks where are you? The way a loving father looks into his disobedient son’s eyes. Where are you? The way a patient mother looks into her reckless daughter’s life.
The story of Christmas that begins not in a manger, but a garden, not with the smell of frankincense, but the tasting of a fruit, as God paces around the garden. This “Where are you”-love resounds in covenants, promises and prophets. It spans centuries and generations. Throughout time God’s love echoes. This love, His fastidious-searching-where-are-you-love knows that reconciliation--sure, fixed and definite--will eventually come like a spike in His heart.