So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Can you imagine the scene when Eve and Mary met? It has happened. Some time in the middle of the first century. Or, possibly sometime outside of time, if that’s how it works. But at some point, Mary the mother of Jesus died. And when she entered her eternal rest she might have been greeted by Eve.
Think of that: the woman through whom sin entered the world embracing the woman through whom the Savior entered the world. The bringer of death and the bringer of life.
What stories did they tell one another? Had Eve waited many long centuries to express her regret? Or her gratitude? Had Mary, growing up with the stories from Moses’ book, resented Eve? Or had she sympathized with her forebear? Had either considered the implications of the fact that God had chosen women to embody these pivotal moments in the story of humanity?
As we approach the first weekend of Advent, I’m including an image for you to ponder.
I love the emotion of this image. The garden setting. Eve’s plaintive eyes as she imagines the hope in Mary’s womb. Mary’s consoling look. And the serpent, though I’ll point out that it’s Mary’s son, not Mary, who is destined to crush his head. With the gift Mary carries, Eve can finally escape the serpent’s coil. Humankind can finally escape the shadow of sin.
Christmas shook things up on Earth. But it also shook heaven, particularly one resident there.