Luke 2:1-20 (ESV)
1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
In Romans 8:22-23, the apostle Paul speaks of the future glory in Christ Jesus. He describes our present time as:
“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. “
So, what does this verse about groaning have to do with a joyous Christmas Day? Do you know that all of creation including, you and me, groan or long for Jesus’ return? We wait for the redemption of our bodies when Jesus comes back for us. Inwardly, we all long to be made completely whole through our Lord. Yes, we have the first fruits in that we have been saved by grace and have God’s Holy Spirit living in us. But we will not be completely whole until the new heaven and new earth are ushered in by Jesus.
Christmas day, therefore, is the beginning of the end.
On Christmas day the promised Messiah entered the world. Without this day there would be no hope….no hope for Easter day, no hope for a risen Lord and no hope for the salvation he brings. We would remain dead in our sins with no hope for the future.
In Luke 2:17-18 we find the shepherds going to Mary and Joseph.
“And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them (by the angels) concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.”
They knew this child was the beginning of all they had longed and hoped for.
Today let us glorify the Lord who saves us. He was willing to enter this sin-filled world to redeem us and, one day, end all the groaning and longing for complete redemption of his creation and of us.
Blessings and Hope this Christmas day! It’s only the beginning!