“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” Galatians 4:4
Who hasn’t seen a gift with that “Do not open ‘til Christmas!” tag attached? You’ve likely often wondered, “What could it be?” as your eyes see it occupying both a special place under the tree and in your mind. Even if it’s not your gift, our minds are mesmerized with wonder at the mystery of these special contents. It’s a promise to be opened in the fullness of time – that time being December 25.
Though not born on “Christmas Day,” Jesus is the present from our eternal Father that was the promised Messiah, the long awaited Saviour, and the fulfillment of not only time but many prophecies as well. Jesus, the only begotten Son, had that special “Do not open ‘til Christmas” tag. O glorious day when time was fulfilled and the whole world would hear the joyous message, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
Can you imagine the excitement and anticipation that Jewish people would feel when their eyes would fall upon one of the many promises in Scripture that Messiah would one day come? How their minds must have wondered who the Messiah would be, what He would look like, what kind of grand entrance would He make, and the anticipation of Messiah putting their enemies in place. I imagine they would teach their children of the promise and present of God, pointing the many Scriptures out with gladness and gratitude, with the excitement that one day the fullness of time would come – one day the “present” would be unwrapped and would be theirs. Hallelujah!
“December 25” came, the gift was unwrapped for “the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” “A child was born”—speaking of Jesus’ humanity; “a son was given”—speaking of Christ’s divinity. There were very few who recognized the promised present – some shepherds on a hillside, Simeon and Anna, a few kings from the East, and maybe a handful of others. For the most part, it was opened unnoticed and unappreciated. Many were looking for someone to save them from Roman rule but He had come, this time, to save them from their sin. They were looking for a man, but He came as a baby; a lion, but He had come as a Lamb. They expected someone who would fit their idea of religion, but Jesus had come as the only way to the Father, that love rather than legalistic rote could become the norm. Actually, to this day many are still waiting for the “fullness of time,” so they can unwrap their promised present. Many others have lost the excitement, anticipation, and maybe faith that “December 25” will actually come. It’s like receiving a “Don’t open ‘til Christmas” present in March; at first, you’re excited, eventually it gets in the way so it gets relegated to the hallway closet till Christmas time. Once in the closet, little by little it gets more and more forgotten instead of cherished.
Friends, we’ve been given another “Christmas/Advent promise,” which is simply awaiting “the fullness of time.” I’ve been told that for every promise of Jesus’ first coming, there are two prophetic verses of His second coming. Do we await with anticipation and excitement that Jesus IS coming back? Or are we content to live our lives in this world with little thought of the next? Do our thoughts parallel Peter’s warning? “…Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3:4) Or do we look forward to that day, sharing with others “the hope that is in you”?
Luke 21 is full of promise, warning, and admonition regarding the time of this next “Christmas present.” Don’t be fooled; don’t let Jesus’ warning go unheeded. Take a few moments to prayerfully read Luke 21 and prepare your heart and mind; keep the faith and keep faithful; do all you can to help others be ready for His sure return. And what of our Jewish friends still awaiting Messiah? There will come a day when they will finally understand that Jesus was the promised Messiah and that He is their salvation. In that day, God will “pour upon the house of David…the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zech. 12:10)
No one knows the day nor the hour of this next “December 25th,” but the final Advent will take place according to God’s divine plan “in the fulness of time.” May this Christmas be as much of a reminder that Jesus IS coming back as it is a remembrance that He has come.
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