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A Peek at the Ending

Posted December 1, 2021
BibleThe Story of the Bible

This is Day 1 from “The Promised Seed,” our 25-day Christmas devotional. To continue reading along with us these next 25 days, download your free devotional here.

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:1–7

Have you ever read a book so filled with tension you were tempted to flip to the last page and find out how it ends?

Let’s be honest. These last couple of years have us all living in that tension. We’d like to flip to the back of the book and see everything tied up in a little bow. We’re ready to be done with pandemics and forest fires, political uncertainty and heated debates on Facebook. Even as we celebrate Christmas, hoping to bid farewell to this year, we’re living in denial if we think January 1st will mark a sharp turn for the better.

Or, perhaps, as we look at our current circumstances, many of us don’t even care about the ending. We’d rather just close the book altogether. Maybe burn it?

But Christmas is a season marked by hope. The weary world takes a deep breath; we lift our eyes, believing the words are true: The people in darkness will see a great light (Isa. 9:2).

This month, as we look to the story that’s already been written in human history, we’ll find confidence and hope. The same God who preserved his seed—the promised line through whom the Messiah would come—in order to accomplish our salvation is at work now.

It feels a little odd to kick off the Christmas season by jumping right to the main event. Over the next 25 days, we’ll tell the story from the beginning—in Eden itself—and work our way back to this glorious climax, the moment when the Promised Seed finally appeared. But we’re going to start by peeking at the ending to anchor our hope. The Promised Seed has come!

This passage in Luke 2 establishes a few details that set up the themes we’re going to trace through this devotional:

  • First, note the ordinary circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth: a government edict requires Mary and Joseph to make the journey to Bethlehem, putting them in the right place at the right time, according to God’s good plan (vv. 1–3).
  • Second, observe that Joseph was “of the house and lineage of David”—a key detail when we consider how this child was promised to come from a particular family tree, from the royal line—the seed—of King David (v. 4).
  • Finally, stretching all the way back to the garden, God’s promise was tied to the seed—a baby who would come and, once and for all, crush the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15). But as we see him here in Luke, he’s small and helpless, lying in a manger. We can’t help but wonder: Is this really it? Could this baby really be the hope we’ve been waiting for (v. 5)?

While this Christmas story has become familiar and expected, it’s really quite miraculous. Not just because of the virgin birth. And not only because of the incarnation, the reality that God has come in the flesh. It’s miraculous because the house and line of David should have long since disappeared. Since the garden, the seed of the serpent has waged war on the seed of the woman, seeking to destroy God’s people. God chose to tie his promise to a particular people, but we’ll see that, time and time again, those people put themselves at risk of being wiped off the face of the earth. If it had been up to them, Luke 2 wouldn’t be a story in our Bibles.

But it was never up to them.

Here’s what we’re going to see in this study: Our gracious God works through ordinary people and in both ordinary and dire circumstances to accomplish his purposes. God is faithful! He keeps his promises! He’s at work in all things, bringing about our good and his glory.

Are you weary as you head into this season? Let’s pray these truths will transform our perspectives and fill us with hope as we marvel at God’s faithfulness on the pages of Scripture. The Promised Seed has come!

Photo of Kendra Dahl
Kendra Dahl

Kendra Dahl is the Director of Content for Core Christianity and White Horse Inn, a writer, wife, and mom of three. Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, she currently lives in the San Diego area, where she loves life among the beach and mountains and doesn't miss the snow even a little bit. She has an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Westminster Seminary California and writes to invite people into the healing and freedom found in knowing Christ. You can find her on Instagram.