“That’s no offense,” said the judge. “How early were you doing this shopping?” “About four hours before the store opened,” countered the prisoner.
My wife and I have also been doing our Christmas shopping a little early this year. Shopping that is - but not necessarily wrapping. You see, like so many people nowadays, we ordered more than a few things online. And now we are praying that they all arrive in time to get them wrapped and placed under the tree before the big family gathering.
It’s very important, is it not, to get one’s presents together before the time they are due!
Of course, presents matter. But timing is also essential. After all, a Christmas gift that is given in October has as little meaning as one that arrives in late February! As in all things, timing is critical when it comes to delivering Christmas gifts.
And so it was with the world’s first Christmas. Imagine if the Shepherds had of showed up in the latter part of Luke, chapter 2, when Jesus was 12 years old, as opposed to the first part, when He was born! Better yet, what about the Wise Men? Imagine the embarrassment they would have felt if they had walked in with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh twelve years too late!
But thankfully, when it came to that first Christmas, all these things unfolded right on time. The King James Version translates Galatians 4:4-5 this way:
“But when the fulness 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.”
The New Living Translation translates the phrase “when the fulness of time was come” as “when the right time came”.
The point, of course, is that all these things happened in just exactly the “right time”. And what was the “right time”? The “right time” was clearly that time appointed by Almighty God in accordance with His perfect plan to bring His Son into this world in order to bring about the redemption of men and women of every age and every locale and every circumstance!
In the classic 1965 television special A Charlie Brown Christmas, the Vince Guaraldi Trio sang the following lyrics:
Christmas time is here, Happiness and cheer, Fun for all that children call, Their favorite time of the year;
Snowflakes in the air, Carols everywhere, Olden times and ancient rhymes, Of love and dreams to share;
Sleigh bells in the air, Beauty everywhere, Yuletide by the fireside, And joyful memories there;
Christmas time is here, We'll be drawing near, Oh, that we could always see, Such spirit through the year; Oh, that we could always see, Such spirit through the year...
I, for one, am glad it’s Christmastime! I firmly believe our Christmas presents will arrive exactly on time. And I also believe our Christmas will be a great time.
For God made certain that the very first Christmas would unfold exactly in the right time. And because of that, any time Christmas time unfolds this year, it will absolutely be exactly the right time!