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This is a Christmas like no other Christmas we’ve had before. It’s different. And it’s a little weird when it comes to time, because in some ways, back in March with the start of lockdowns, time stood still. Every day has become blursday.
The way we countdown the time to Christmas at my house is with an Advent Calendar. Every day in December, we take out a piece of one of the people or animals involved in the first Christmas story, and hang it up, to countdown the time until Christmas day is finally here.
Did you know that the longest night of the year officially is December 21, known as the Winter Solstice? But any kid knows that the longest night of the year is Christmas Eve. I remember how I would get so excited that I would try and stay awake all night long because I was so excited for the next morning. I would wake my parents up early and ask them, “Is it Christmas Time yet?”
What time is Christmas? In Ecclesiastes and many other places in the Bible, it says that God plans the time for everything. He holds time in His hands. Even all that has happened in 2020 didn’t take God by surprise.
At the right time in history, God planned for Caesar Augustus to declare a census. We read about God’s perfect plan in Luke 2, starting in verse 1.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. 2 This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.
4 Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, 5 to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 Then she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
In those days, not a random time, a chosen time. It says, “the time came for her to give birth,” It was the right time. Her pregnancy, their trip to Bethlehem, the royal decree, all depended on God’s perfect timing.
3 Timely Truths about Christmas Time
1. Jesus came at the right time.
God specifically chose the time when Jesus would come to earth. It wasn’t random. It was a planned event. He specifically chose that time as the time for Jesus’ birth.
Did you ever wonder why Jesus was born when he was? His birth had been predicted for 4,000 years before he was born. The people of God waited and waited for so many years. There was even this long period of a couple of hundred years where there were no Old Testament prophets. People must have thought God had forgotten about them and about His promise to send a Savior.
But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. Galatians 4:4
Jesus came into the world at the time he did because the world needed him then. It was a unique time in history. Jesus was born during a time called the pax Romana, or “Roman peace,” that started in 27 BC with the rise of Augustus Caesar, who ended Roman civil wars, and ended in the year 180 AD. This was a small window in time for only 200 years that had an unusual political stability and many cultural advances. Because of the Peace of Rome, the disciples of Jesus and their letters could travel freely around the Roman Roads pretty quickly and easily. It was the perfect time to spread the message of Jesus. That’s how God’s timing works.
God has perfect timing. God is never early and never late.
2. Jesus came for our time.
When we’re celebrating Christmas this year, it’s not just about something that happened a long time ago in a place called Bethlehem. It’s about a present reality that is just as relevant and important and needed today as ever before.
We need Jesus right here, in our country, and around the world.
God has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11
You might think, this year hasn’t been very beautiful. But don’t miss what God has done in your life this year. What God can still do in your life as you commit your life to Him!
What difference does what happened back then make in your life today?
God didn’t just work way back then. God doesn’t just work in our lives today, but here’s the greatest promise: God isn’t done working yet. It’s not just for Christmas time, it’s for all time.
3. Jesus came for all time.
Nothing will happen to you in the year ahead that doesn’t first pass through God’s hands.
We will face some surprises and unexpected events in 2021, but none of it will surprise God. That means you can trust God with your future.
The birth of Jesus was all a part of God’s perfect plan. One verse we love to read at Christmas in Isaiah 9:6:
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will make this happen!
God’s plan goes on forever. It never ends. God’s reign and rule in your life and in the future will keep on going long into the future.
We don’t know what the future holds, but we know the God who holds the future in His hands!
God wants to carry you into the future He has planned for you. Don’t give up on the future God has planned for you. He hasn’t given up on you.
Christmas is not something in the distant past. The cries from that night echo through all of history.
God proved how perfect His timing is on that first Christmas. That’s what people needed then. That’s what people needed in all the years between then and now. That’s what people need now and all year long. That’s what people will need until the end of time.