It’s not a word we typically think of in regard to Christmas, is it?
Peace, joy, good will…these are more comfortable sentiments this time of year. And rightfully so! We celebrate the Messiah’s arrival on this planet with a cup of good cheer.
But it is impossible to truly experience peace, joy, good will, and celebrate Christmas itself without considering the groaning that brought us here.
It’s a bit like the process of childbirth.
At the end of nine months of ever-expanding, uncomfortable waiting, an expectant mother gives birth to new life. The labor required to produce life is one of the most grueling things a human being can do. It involves groaning, doesn’t it?! But it’s this very process that brings forth life. The joy, the excitement surrounding this new life makes every groan, every pain worth it.
In Romans 8, we read about three types of groaning:
Creation has been groaning in the pains of childbirth until now.
We groan inwardly as we wait for all to made new.
And perhaps most importantly, as we cry out to God in our weakness – in our struggle – the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
You know why we celebrate so many good and beautiful things at Christmas?
Because the child born in the manger – the Son of God – put on our groaning flesh, walked on a groaning planet, and while groaning and crying out, endured the pain of the cross, finally uttering one word meaning, “It is finished…their sins are paid in full,” before giving up His life for you and for me. His agony – his groaning – brought forth new life!
Because of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, our groans don’t go out into some expanse of nothingness, void of meaning!
Rather, our God takes the reasons for groans and works them out for our good. His Spirit meets us in our wordless groans and gives them more meaning than we can comprehend; all while making us more and more like Jesus.
Though the story is not yet finished, the One who is making all things new has arrived on the scene!
So I say to you, my beloved Bridge family, “Merry Christmas,” because this is merry news indeed!
Joyfully & Expectantly,