Counting down – December 16, 2018
But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
We are in the season of counting down to Christmas. Merchants are counting down the shopping days. Youngsters are counting down until presents are opened. And some troops are counting down to when holiday leave begins.
Advent is an entire season of counting down. It reminds us that the first Christmas was waited for with great anticipation by those who longed for the coming of their Savior. It tells us that we are now counting down the days for him to come again.
This can be a disturbing thought. We are talking about our death, here. Or, we are speaking of the end of the world. The words of Moses might come to mind: “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).
An old song speaks of a clock that was bought on the day a baby was born and stayed with him throughout life. With the tick-tock, tick-tock of the clock in mind, the song goes on to state: “his life seconds numbering.”
It makes us wonder if our timepieces might be counting down the days, minutes, and seconds left in our life. They are!
This can be a frightening thought. A pilot watches his fuel gauges carefully because when fuel runs out, the flight will come to a disturbing end. Is it not the same when time runs out on a life?
Not for the Christian! Not for the one who was created to live forever, has been redeemed with holy blood, and has been promised a forever of bliss.
Those Old Testament believers were not counting down to a day of dread when the Messiah would appear. Neither should we.
Their eyes were not watching for the occasion when hope and joy drained down to empty. They looked for the time when their lives would overflow with joy. So should we.
God calls it, the fullness of time.
Many events needed to take place before it was the perfect time for the Son of God to arrive as a human. The plan began to unroll already in the Garden of Eden. An Abraham and a Joseph, a Moses and a Daniel had to appear to fulfill their roles. The captives needed to come back from the land of the Tigris and Euphrates. The temple needed to be rebuilt. Rome needed to come to power and deploy its troops in Jerusalem. Pontius Pilate needed to be installed as governor. Herod the Great needed to be established on his throne.
And a common language needed to be understood by people of many nations.
When all of this—and much more—was accomplished, the world was set to receive the King of kings, and his gospel was ready to reach to the ends of the earth.
Like a cup filled to the brim, the fullness of time had come.
So will it be when the Babe of Bethlehem returns. He will come on clouds of glory in the sight of everyone—when the time is perfect.
Before then, he will come to individual believers to take them to heaven—when the time is perfect.
We continue to count down till that perfect time for the return of Jesus. Not in dread! Rather, much the same way that little ones eagerly count down to Christmas.
We look for a sequel. We are waiting for Christmas II.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, eternal God, you brought us to life when you called us to become children of the heavenly Father. You allowed us to see Jesus as the Son of God who paid for our way into heaven. Stay with us now as we walk our path in life. Remind us of eternal truths, guide us with your loving hand. Lift up our eyes so that we might catch a glimpse of the wonders waiting for us when Jesus returns at the fullness of time. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
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