Galatians 4:4-5 (NET)
“But when the appropriate time had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights.”
I remember as a child being so excited at Christmastime. I loved all the lights and the traditions, the trees and the carols. And who am I kidding…I still do! What I did not enjoy, however, was the waiting! There was so much waiting.
We used to go to my grandparents every Christmas Eve. It was my very favorite thing about Christmas and is still one of my very favorite memories. We would arrive at the farmhouse visible from the road due to the candles glowing in the windows, carry in our gifts and place them under the tree that was already bulging with beautifully wrapped boxes.
Then, we were told to wait. We had to eat first. So, we would all gather around the table that was set with gorgeous dishes and goblets surrounded by greenery and enough food to feed about 18 families. Then, we would eat. We kids always seemed to finish first while the adults took their sweet time cleaning their plates.
When everyone was done at last, we would ask, “Is it time now? Can we open the presents?” But alas, the response ALWAYS came, “We have to clear the table first.” So, we would all join in carrying things from the dining room to the kitchen. When that task was completed, “Now is it time,” was answered by, “No. We have to wash the dishes first.” So, we would begin washing, rinsing, drying. Looking back, I think it was all just an elaborate ploy to get us to do chores. Then finally, when we couldn’t stand the anticipation one more minute, my grandmother would announce that it was time to pass out the gifts.
I was reminiscing about this as I read these verses from Galatians. God’s people had been promised a Savior. They’d waited a really long time. They prayed for rescue. They longed for salvation. They anticipated His arrival. The dinner had been eaten, the dishes had been cleared and washed and dried and put away more times than they could count. And yet, there was no Deliverer.
And then…at just the right time, in just the right place, on the perfect day… Jesus was born. He arrived at exactly the right time.
Sometimes in the waiting, it can feel as though we’ve been forgotten, overlooked. I’m guessing the people awaiting the Savior wrestled with this a few times. The thing is, just because you can’t always see what God is doing doesn’t mean He has abandoned you. It means He’s working all things together for your good and His glory so that at the appointed time, your waiting will end and His plans for you will be fulfilled.
One thing the manger teaches us is that the waiting is worth it. Jesus left His throne and the perfection of heaven and stepped down to earth at just the right time. He’s all about ending the waiting with a flourish, wouldn’t you say?
This is the season of expectation. Ask God to renew your confidence in His ability to show up at the perfect moment.
And please, please…for me…don’t make your children clear the table, wash the dishes, dry the dishes and put the dishes away before presents! Some waiting just isn’t necessary!
Until next time…