But Then... God sent His Son
At Christmas we hear the classic references of a little town called Bethlehem, a virgin-birth by way of a teenager, angels singing, and wise men traveling from afar. There are other characters as well: Joseph, the Innkeeper, a donkey, some Angels and a bunch of sleepy shepherds with their animals in tow.
We recite the story from the book of Luke and read it from the opening chapters of the other gospels. And those of us who have heard the Christmas story, for more years than we have not, know that the Old Testament books and prophets all point forward to that first Christmas and the baby boy who would be born— the promised “Messiah”.
And yet, it is Paul’s words, in a letter written to an ancient city-church, that remind me that the first Christmas was a purposed, intentional event. Not a last ditch effort to save the word. Not the plan B that God schemed up, late one night. Not something that was causally pieced together.
Galations 4:4 reads, “but then the right time came. God sent His son.“ NIrV
In the midst of a pain-filled culture,
With tensions at an all-time high,
While families lived in poverty,
And crime and oppression ruled the land,
The right time came.
The Jewish people had been waiting for a Savior—
The fulfillment of what the prophets had foretold,
With anticipation they had prayed for the Messiah to arrive,
The leader who would break the grip of the Romans,
A king who would come and liberate them;
They longed, hoped and expected.
But God’s timing took longer than they wanted. It often does.
The Messiah didn’t come years earlier when they lived in a place of abundance,
Or under peaceful rule.
He didn’t come during a time when they were revered as the “promised, chosen, children-of-God”
That was not the right time.
The “but then” came in the midst of their need,
Perhaps their darkest hours.
With faith slipping away and doubt settling in,
With the words of the prophets becoming a distant echo instead of promises of hope.
It was in these moments that God sent His Son. At the right time.
Not in the form that many expected.
Not because of anything they did.
Not because they deserved it.
But because God deemed that the right time had come.
And maybe this Christmas, the time is right for you
To receive what the world did on that first Christmas:
Hope Provision Liberty Peace Joy Promise Purpose
Not because you deserve it, have asked for it, or even believe in it.
But because you need it.
You need a miracle to invade your life,
To rip through the pain and chaos that you exist in.
You need light to come and slice through your darkness,
And hope to overwhelm you in your situation.
This is exactly why Jesus came.
2000 years ago a King exchanged His throne for a manger,
And the world has never been the same.
With His first breath, hope invaded the world.
In one moment light came and drove back the darkness,
Joy came to those who didn’t know it.
Peace blanketed earth.
Humanity was forever changed.
Because the right time came.God sent His Son. We no longer have to wait.
This Christmas season I am thankful for the words “but then.” They signify change. They point to something of significance. They promise hope.
But then… God sent His Son.