Luke 2:1-7; Romans 8:22-25

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

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. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.


Jesus' first advent took place under Roman occupation, and his ministry was localized around Judea and Galilee over a three-year period. Throughout his public ministry he brought good news to the poor, release for the captives, sight for the blind, and freedom for the oppressed (Luke 4:16-21). Ultimately, however, he bore the weight of our sin on a cross at Calvary. On the third day he rose from the dead, and after forty days he ascended to his Father in heaven. From his throne in heaven his ministry has continued, though he is not physically with us on earth. Now, we live in the tension of the "already and not yet." Thus, with creation, we have been waiting and groaning for the final restoration of all things. Though we have the first fruits of the Spirit, our souls are still hungry for more of Christ's presence. We long for the redemption of our bodies and for a glorified creation. Yet, as we wait and groan we do so with great hope - not hope in what we can see, but in what we do not see. Our hope is in things that are above, where Christ dwells. One day we will be with him, face to face. Until then, we pray: Come, Lord Jesus.


1. In his first advent Jesus brought physical healing and restoration. In his second advent he is coming to restore all of creation. How does this reality affect the way you live today?

2. Reflecting on Scripture, how would you describe a renewed and restored creation?

3. Is your hope truly in Christ? Day to day, do you place your hope in what you see or in what you do not see? Be honest.


God of all ages, in the birth of Christ your boundless love for your people shattered the power of darkness. Be born in us with that same love and light, that our song may blend with all the choirs of heaven and earth to the glory of your holy name. Amen.


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