What time did your Christmas Day begin? Maybe children in your home were up early to see what presents they were to receive. Or perhaps this day has been a time for getting up slowly with a cup of coffee and your Bible.
As a pastor, Christmas Day often seemed a continuation from the Christmas Eve services we had been holding the night before. We got home from church about 1 am, and then I was already thinking about the service the next day. We didn’t get much sleep!
Christmas Day started early with the alarm waking us so the oven could be switched on at some unearthly hour in order for the turkey to be ready for the lunch, complete with all the ‘trimmings’. We usually had several guests and family for Christmas Day, so the meal would be extensive, and timing was critical to get it all ready together – an art which my wife has perfected over the many years of our marriage. We didn’t relax until after the Queen’s speech at 3pm – and then it was maybe time for a little sleep before tea time, then supper time, then bed time.
We do worry about time in our modern would. But the Bible tells us that while Joseph and Mary were in Nazareth ‘the time came for the baby to be born’. Who set that time? How did the parents prepare for the time? Were they worried in case the baby wasn’t on time? I know there’s a nine month time for pregnancies, but I think the time in the Luke 2 passage refers to God’s time, not ours. It was when God’s time was fulfilled that the birth took place.
We can speculate on the preparations in heaven, how the angels might have been getting everything ready. Perhaps an early morning alarm call for Gabriel – if it was he – to make sure he spoke to the shepherds, in order to get them down to the village at the right time? We don’t know. What we do know is that this was the right time for Jesus’ birth, according to His heavenly Father. In later years Jesus began His ministry by declaring ‘The time has come, the Kingdom of God is at hand’ (Mark 1:15), and Paul endorsed it when he wrote that ‘Just at the right time … Christ died for the ungodly’ (Romans 5:6).
Of course timing is important in everyday life, and we may not always get it right, but God’s timing is spot-on. Whilst we worry and fuss about getting things in the right order and on time, our heavenly Father has a perfect sense of timing. What must have seemed to Joseph to be a poor sense of timing, away from the family and not even in a proper hotel, was just the right time to God.
On this special day, when we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus, may we know that this is God’s right time for each one of us too. Whatever circumstances you’re in today may you know the peace of God that comes from the certainty that He’s your Lord and Father, that you’re in His will, and that He desires to bless you with His love in a special way. May you have a truly happy Christmas, and God’s blessing be with you.
Prayer: Father God, we rejoice today in the right time, which was the nativity of the Lord Jesus. We thank You that this was the start of a ‘right time process’ which would lead to our salvation and restoration into Your family. We don’t always understand how the times we’re in can be ‘right’ for us, but we trust You. You created time, and You can order things in our lives in a better way than we can to bring about Your purposes here on earth, for your glory. Thank You, Jesus, for coming to us at just the right time. Amen.
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