The Sixth Day of Christmas: Peace on Earth
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:19-22 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Reflection: Mankind was created on the sixth day, and thus mankind has always been connected to the number six. Moreover, six days were appointed to mankind for his labor; while one day is associated in sovereignty with the Lord God, as His rest. Six, therefore, is the number of labor also, of man's labor as apart and distinct from God's rest. Six is the number stamped on all that is connected with the human race and is significant to its use throughout the Scriptures.
· Cain’s descendants are given only as far as the sixth generation.
· The Sixth Commandment relates to the worst sin; murder.
· The sixth clause of the Lord's Prayer speaks to the victory over sin’s temptation.
· There are six words for “man” or “mankind” in Scripture:
1. Adham, Genesis 1:26.
2. Ish, Psalm 25:12.
3. Enosh, Psalm 8:4.
4. Gehver, Psalm 52:7.
5. Anthropos, 1 Corinthians 3:3-4.
6. Aner, 1 Peter 3:7.
· Six persons bore testimony to the Savior's innocence:
1. Pilate, Luke 23:14.
2. Herod, Luke 23:15.
3. Judas, Matthew 27:3.
4. Pilate's wife, Matthew 27:19.
5. The dying thief, Luke 23:41.
6. The centurion, Luke 23:47.
In our Scripture reading Paul says, the creation can be heard, as it were, groaning with pain. The following excerpt was taken from a sermon delivered by Pastor Ronald Hanko who pastors the Lynden Protestant Reformed Church in Lynden, WA. He wrote the following concerning the reading for today.
In Romans 8:19-21 the Apostle Paul is referring to the groaning of the creation due to all the troubles, disasters and changes that take place in the creation around us — so-called natural disasters, famine, drought, pestilence, quakes, floods and all the rest. They are the voice of creation and they are universally a voice of groaning and pain.
That groaning of creation, however, is not only a groan of pain and of longing, but of hope. It expresses the hope of every child of God, the hope we each feel in our hearts. That certainty of hope is founded in the cross and resurrection of our Savior — on the knowledge of what He has done by His suffering and death. It is the certainty that His death really has paid for the sins of His people, and that by His resurrection from the dead He ever lives to make us partakers of Himself and of His resurrection.
The creation has hope and shows that it has hope by its expectation. Expectation is more than longing - it is the certainty that what is hoped for shall come. The creation’s groaning is founded in the pain of childbirth. And, as every mother knows, there is not only the hope of an end to pain, but the hope of something that will make the pain itself seem worthwhile, the birth of another covenant child.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Christmas reminds me that Jesus Christ came to redeem and restore. We have the promise of “peace on earth.” As part of Your creation I too am praying for peace. My spirit groans over the distress that sin has brought into Your perfect creation. I now realize that my groaning is not limited to my pain or the pain of the creation, but I long for You and the hope I have for Your complete deliverance to be manifested throughout the creation. Help me to keep my eyes on You, looking full in Your wonderful face, so the things of earth will dim in the light of Your glory and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.