Devotion and Prayer for Week of December 8, 2013

Meditation for the week December 8, 2013

“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”       (Galatians 4: 4-5)

 

            I have to confess that I am totally unprepared for the holidays.  Why exactly that is I am not sure.  Perhaps the warmer weather we experienced this fall threw me off a bit.  That’s not a complaint, mind you.  Seventies into October are a whole lot nicer than wet, damp, windy and cold!  However, without the change to colder more blustery weather cluing me in, my internal alarms just never went off.  Nevertheless, it seems that the holidays have just completely snuck up on me.  Typically by this point in the year I have both Advent and Christmas pretty well laid out if not on paper, at least in my head.  Let’s just say that this year I am not quite there yet.

It really shouldn’t be that way, though.  It’s not like our calendars for 2013 omitted December 25th.  I knew it was coming.  The steady countdown toward Christmas Day has been going on for twelve months.  Although it may feel as if it has snuck up on me, Christmas was not an afterthought.  It’s been there all along.

In truth, Christmas should never be considered an afterthought.  God certainly didn’t consider it such.  Consider Paul’s words in the above passage from Galatians, “But when the fullness of time came.” I realize we don’t speak like this anymore but what Paul is telling us is that the birth of Jesus was about as far from an afterthought as you could get.  His birth came at exactly the time when God the Father wanted it to come.  However, we should not understand Paul’s words as God merely being punctual.  Christ’s birth was considerably more than simply about coming “on time.”

“The fullness of time” refers to all that God had done to prepare for the coming of our Savior.  It is a reference to God’s diligent work, from the time of Adam to the time that Mary and Joseph made their way to Bethlehem, preparing the world for the coming of its King.  God was not simply “passing time,” or twiddling his thumbs waiting for his alarm clock to go off.  No, he laid all the groundwork and made sure that all things were in place for the birth of the Savior.  Abraham was chosen to be the father of Israel.  Israel was chosen to be his people from whom the Christ would come.  The prophets came to speak his word to predict the coming of the Messiah and to prepare the hearts of the people.  Mary was born to become the mother of God.  Joseph was born to be his earthly father.  The preparations were made and when all was ready, when everything was in place just as God the Father wanted, Jesus, our Savior, was born of a virgin and laid to rest in a manger.

None of this was happenstance, but intentional.  God made all these plans with a singular purpose in mind:  to save the world; to save you and me.  And he executed those plans down to the minutest detail.  When his preparation were ready, “when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law.”

            That’s the point of all God’s work.  That’s the point of Christmas.  Jesus came to fulfill God’s plan to redeem you and me from the curse of the Law.  And just as Christmas was no afterthought, neither was Good Friday nor Easter Sunday.  When it comes to our salvation, God is far too diligent.

So, if you haven’t thought about Christmas yet, now is a good time to start.  Remember, it is more than a winter holiday but the beginning of God’s culminating work to bring eternal life to you and me.  Have a blessed Christmas!

 

Our Weekly Prayer

Most Gracious and Eternal God, as the day of your son’s birth approaches, remind us that his coming into the world to save us from our sin was not an afterthought but your gracious plan to give to us eternal life.  Grant by your grace that this Christmas would be a reminder to us of your goodness and love and that we might grow in faith to continually trust you and Christ our Savior.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.