It is fun to ponder the many implications of Galatians 4:4, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law….”
The timing of the first advent of Christ was perfect in every way. The Old Covenant had run its course and the people of Israel had received proper preparation. John the Baptist had been born six months earlier. The Roman Empire was prepared not only for the crucifixion of Christ but also the propagation of the gospel and expansion of the church. The predominant Greek language was ideal for the writing of the New Testament. Mary, the chosen mother of Jesus, was at the right age and at the right place at that very time. So the list could go on almost endlessly of all the factors God put in place to make that the perfect moment in history for the appearance of Jesus.
Scripture also indicates that God’s plan includes a perfect moment for the return of Christ for His church. When we reflect on the verse, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only,” (Matthew 24:36 NKJV) we tend to focus on the fact that no one can know the day and hour, but notice that this verse also affirms that the Father knows, that is, He already has identified when the exact fullness of time will arrive for the return of the Lord.
Shortly before the ascension of Christ His disciples asked Him, “Will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He responded, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” Though the schedule was not theirs to know, the passage assures us that God has the timing all planned.
It seems that God has a plan for a lot of things. In fact, from the promise of Scripture that God is working all things together for our good we get the impression that there are not too many loose ends to God’s program.
Therefore, the Christmas story is a great reminder that God has a comprehensive program for history and that He has not forgotten us in His plans.
I need that reminder at times. For example, I sometimes bemoan the fact that my whole adult life has been spent during the era when the sixties philosophy has dragged America into moral degradation. It has been unpleasant to be on the cultural losing side most of my life. I have to remind myself of the rhetorical question with which Mordecai queried Esther, “(W)ho knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
As we walk with the Lord through life, some situations may leave us with the impression that God is running late. His timing might not seem at all perfect but instead perfectly wrong—very untimely. But as we anticipate Christmas, remember that just as Christ entered history in the fullness of time, so did you. When our timing seems to be off, we can be assured that God’s is not.
Maybe that is part of what the writer of Hebrews was referencing when he wrote about, “Entering into His rest.” Because our lives are played out in the fullness of God’s time, we can rest in the truth of the chorus, “In His time, In His time, He makes all things beautiful in His time.” Might that comforting truth make your Christmas a little merrier.