Word of the Week

When the Time Came

One of the parts of the Christmas story that I have clung to this season comes from Luke's gospel. The Christmas story includes this important detail:  "When the time came" or as another translation puts it: "When the fullness of time came . . . for the child to be delivered."

It was a profound statement about how God views time.

Our Advent theme in worship this season has been "Hurry up and Wait." It has been a theme which has challenged us to thinking about the "hows" and the "whys" of our waiting.   It has asked us the questions: "Do I need to speed up the pace of my waiting or slow it down? And how might I need to re-posture my life so that I can receive more hope, more peace, more joy and more love?"

But now that it is the eve of Christmas Eve, what will it mean to say that Christ is here in a few short hours?

While our goal tomorrow night will be to celebrate the chosen anniversary of Christ's birth, I believe the night is about so much more.

Christmas Eve is a night of encouragement for all our hoping. Our hoping for a better year than last . . . our hoping for healing for ourselves or a family member . . . our hoping for a new relationship . . . our hoping for peace where it has been so long gone . . . . our hoping for meaning in our lives. It is a night to remember again that "when the fullness of time comes" God's promises for these things will be fulfilled.

The hard part about this encouraging word is the vagueness about specifics. When was the fullness of time exactly? What does it mean?

In the Greek, this type of time is called kairos which is speaks of the right or correct moment. Kairos is different from the type of time we usually associate with the moving hands on clocks. Kairos speaks of God's sense of timing-- a timing that is wrapped up in what is "beyond all comprehension or understanding."

It is type of time where a teenage mother carries the Son of God.

It is the type of time when an elderly woman can become pregnant.

It the type of time when unknown shepherds take center stage.

It the type of time when joy springs forth from the darkness.

It's never predictable. It's never explainable. It just is.

So if you find yourself continuing to wait for the desires of your heart this Christmas Eve, do not grow weary. Though it can be frustrating. Actually, very frustrating! Frustrating not to know how the plans of your life will come together. Yet, my hope for you is that you'll  find the strength to trust in the promise that "in the fullness of time" all will be made well.

This is the good news to sing about on Christmas Day.

Blessings to you and yours this weekend!