“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son” (Galatians 4:4).
The word “fullness” speaks of something complete and fully developed, like a ripe apple ready to be picked or like a pregnant woman feeling labor pains, ready to deliver her baby. It describes the moment in history when the stage was perfectly set. At that moment, not earlier and not later, God sent forth his Son.
Think of how unlikely it all seems:
A decree from Caesar Augustus.
An angel appears to Mary.
A virgin becomes pregnant.
An angel comes to Joseph in a dream.
A baby called Immanuel.
A mysterious star in the east.
Wise Men showing up in Jerusalem.
Angels appearing to shepherds.
A trip to Bethlehem.
No room in the inn.
A stable that was available.
A babe wrapped in rags and placed in a feeding trough.
A star that led the Wise Men to the right house in Bethlehem.
Gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
A dying king who tried to kill the baby.
A desperate journey to Egypt.
Another journey to Nazareth.
None of it happened by chance. A pagan emperor issued a decree at just the right moment in history, when the Pax Romana was in full force and the world was yearning restlessly for deliverance. Angels showed up to a young man and a young woman who believed what they said. When the virgin became pregnant, Joseph decided not to divorce her. A star began to shine in the east that led the Wise Men to travel hundreds of miles seeking the baby. All of it finally focused on a stable outside an inn in the “little town of Bethlehem,” where the most incredible event in history took place.
C, S. Lewis says it this way:
The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares the way for this, or results from this.
Sometimes we focus on peripheral questions (how did Jesus turn water into wine?) that distract us from the central truth of our faith. We believe God became a man.
The Creator became part of the creation.
The infinite became finite.
Almighty God took on the form of a man and was born as a tiny baby.
This is the central truth of our faith.
When everything was just right, God sent his Son to be our Savior.
That’s what Christmas is all about.
Lord, thank you for arranging all the details centuries in advance. You set the stage, then Christ was born. Open our eyes so that we may see him clearly. Amen.
Musical bonus: How about a little reggae Christmas music? If you need an extra dose of joy today, check out Joy to the World by Christafari.