My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property; 2 but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. 3 So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6 And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.
Galatians 4: 1-7
It’s about time. I don’t have time. If only I had the time…. As we mark time during this Advent season we need to recognize not only the significance of this moment in time but also of the strategic nature of these moments. We would refer to the strategic nature of time as timing.
Have you ever stopped to consider how important timing is to everything that exists? Do you put up your Christmas tree in July? Do you wash your car during a rainstorm? No? Why not? It’s not the right time! There is a right time for such activities.
Timing matters. If the timing is off, the quarterback won’t connect with his receiver for a completion. If the timing is off the basketball player will arrive at the spot before the ball or after the ball is already passed. Timing matters in our daily lives too. If you have ever missed a flight because you arrived one minute after boarding you know the importance of timing.
Paul writes, “In the fullness of time, God sent forth His son, born of a woman. . .” But the reality is, most people missed the moment. Most people did not recognize the significance of Christ’s birth at the time. People were much too busy to pay any attention to the young girl giving birth to her first child out in a stable there in Bethlehem.
At just the right time in history Jesus was born. The Roman civil wars had passed, and Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, was one of the better emperors. The Romans had constructed roads that connected city to city, making travel easier. All roads led to Rome. The world was at peace under Roman rule. Roman laws protected the citizens and Roman soldiers guarded the peace. Thanks to both the Greek and Roman conquests, Latin and Greek were known across the empire making communication possible with many from all over the world.
Had Jesus been born several centuries earlier, the Near East would have been torn apart by wars. Even just one century earlier Rome was awash with the blood of civil wars among competing strong men. Or had Jesus been born a century later the Holy Land would have been devastated and Jerusalem destroyed by two Jewish rebellions. Yes, Jesus was born at the ideal time and place. God’s plans and timing are always best.
A prayer for this day:
God of all time, we give you praise for your holy timing. Keep us alert to signs of your presence. Amen
Priscilla Andre-Colton (MA, 1979)
Old Presbyterian Meeting House