Fullness of Time
by Kim Allen, Director of SHINE Children's Ministry
Buying a Christmas tree in October is like . . . well, it’s like buying your back to school supplies in June. When you walk into one of those crafty stores, you can find spring decor in January and fake pumpkins in late July, right after all that back to school stuff goes on clearance. And you haven’t even been on summer vacation yet. It’s as though the entire first world is living from one Pinterest party to the next.
Has anyone else noticed this? Not to sound like my grandmother (this is going to sound like my grandmother), but when I was a kid, things were not like this. I feel like I got to live each day as it came. Sure, I got excited about trick-or-treating and Christmas, but the build-up was about 10 or 12 days--not weeks and weeks of commercialized anticipation. And don’t even get me started with elves on shelves.
God isn’t a global retailer, but he sure knows how to build anticipation. Throughout the Scriptures, as far back as Genesis, He promised that a Savior would come. For thousands of years, God continued to tell His story and give clues all along the way. Imagine how Abraham or David must have felt, anticipating this Redeemer.
I love the way the Bible describes the timing of Jesus’ birth in Galatians 4:4-5: But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
The fullness of time is a glorious way to say “when everything was ready”. God had had spoken through the prophets, he had exalted and humbled kingdoms, and he had prepared the way for the apex of all human history. Jesus came at the perfect time.
After all of those promises from the Old Testament, you would think that God would have made it some huge, celebrated event, announcing through royal heralds the birth of His Son. If Costco had known, you would have received a coupon catalog weeks in advance to prepare. Instead, angels announced to sleepy shepherds that a baby had been born in the neighboring village stable, swaddled and lying in a feeding trough in relative anonymity.
The long-awaited King did not ride in with pomp and circumstance; he joined this life just like the rest of us. Even though His birth was the most anticipated event of all time, his days were lived one day at a time, in total dependence on his Father and in communion with the Holy Spirit.
That’s a good word for us today: live this season one day at a time, in total dependence on your Heavenly Father and in communion with the Holy Spirit. You don’t need a coupon catalog for that.
The Breadbox is our Children's Ministry email. This monthly publication arrives chock-full information about SHINE, but also tips and resources on how you can disciple your small people.