Unlike the often serene and domesticated carols we sing at this time of year, the Christmas story is an unlikely combination of the holy and the material, the sublime and the ordinary. In our often anthropocentric reading of Scripture, we miss the larger story that the redemption God brings is not limited to humanity, but to all of the groaning creation. Humans and angels weren’t the only witnesses to Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. Our message, The Mystery (…and the Manure) of Christmas), will come from Romans 8:18-25.
Romans 8:18-25 (NRSV)
18I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.