The First First Noel

“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
(Genesis 3:15, NKJV)

When we think of Christmas, we don’t usually think of snakes—much less “that serpent of old . . . the Devil” (Rev. 12:9). And most normal people wouldn’t turn to Genesis 3—the Fall chapter—for a decidedly winter holiday. On the surface of it, the only thing Christmas seems to have in common with Genesis 3 is the tree!

However, throughout history as Christians read Genesis 3:15 with New Testament lenses, the Messiah’s advent popped off the page like something out of a 3-D movie. The bare text itself contains an odd reference in Hebrew to “her Seed,” a phrase used only once in the entire Old Testament. Typically people would speak of “his seed,” regarding the man as the source of offspring (“seed”). Yet there it stood, like an odd appendage drawing attention to itself on the face of an already obscure text—her Seed.

Then it happened: in “the fullness of . . . time,” Paul wrote, “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman” (Gal. 4:4, emphasis added). Wait a second. Isn’t every child born of a woman? Why would Paul point out such an obvious fact? Because he was shining a New Testament light on that dimly lit Old Testament text. Born of a woman, her Seed had finally come!

For those who have ears to hear, Genesis 3:15 plays faint but audible strains of the first first Noel. It quietly nudges readers far forward to the first advent of the Messiah—her Seed. Yet this important passage also points us even farther forward today. Its gentle yuletide chimes swell into a resounding trumpet blast announcing the glorious second advent of the Messiah, when the nail-pierced foot of the woman’s Seed will crush the head of the serpent.