Christmas Cut History in Half

“Christmas split history. Foretastes of the future abound. Drink deeply on what he achieved for us. And be filled with hope for all that is coming.”

Chris Hutchison on December 21, 2021

As we anticipate celebrating Christmas this week, I’d like to share with you a quote from John Piper’s advent devotional, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy. In an entry entitled “Christmas Cut History in Half” he reflects on Acts 3:24 and Hebrews 1:1-2, writing that

We often think of prophecy as relating to what is yet future or to what is now beginning to happen in the world. And we easily forget that what is past for us was future for the prophets.

What we need to remember is that with the coming of Jesus Christ into the world, the days of fulfillment, proclaimed by all the prophets, began. And ever since the first Christmas we have been living in those days. The “last days” foretold by the prophets are not the twenty-first century. The last days began in AD 1….

All the prophets looked forward to the day when the Messiah, the Son of David, the King of Israel, would come, for that would be a day of great blessing for God’s people. And now he has come, his kingdom has been inaugurated, and we live in an age of fulfillment.

What we anticipate in the future at Christ’s second coming is not something completely new but rather the consummation of the blessings we already enjoy, because the promises have begun to be fulfilled in our lives.

Christmas cut history into two ages: the age of promise and the age of fulfillment….

This is where we live. The already of fulfillment is massive—incarnation, crucifixion, atonement, propitiation, resurrection, ascension, heavenly reign, intercession, outpouring of the Holy Spirit, global missions, ingathering of the nations, church, New Testament Scriptures, prayer in Jesus’s name, joy unspeakable, and purchased certainty.

But the not yet is real and wonderful and waiting for its time: the second coming, the resurrection of the dead, new and glorious bodies, the end of sinning, glorification, judgment on all unbelief, rewards, entrance into the Master’s joy, new heavens and new earth, Jesus present among his people face- to-face, no more misery, pleasures forevermore.

Christmas split history. Foretastes of the future abound. Drink deeply on what he achieved for us. And be filled with hope for all that is coming.

From John Piper, “The Dawning of Indestructible Joy” (Crossway Books, 2014), pp. 45-47.

You can download a copy of the whole book for free at desiringgod.org/books/the-dawning-of-indestructible-joy.

Chris Hutchison
Chris Hutchison is the lead pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Nipawin, SK. Have any feedback or questions about what you've read here? Send him an email at .

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