Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"late in time behold him come"

"but when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship." (galatians 4.4-5 tniv)

this fall, i dropped tessa off for her first day of school and rejoiced at my new freedom. granted, i still had tate to deal with, but having three kids makes having only one a piece of cake. besides, he still took a morning nap. think of all i would be able to get done.

of course, this was a day when he just didn't want to cooperate. i finally picked him up out of his crib and laid down with him on the couch for a bit. we both fell asleep. when i woke up, i thought about how good it felt to be holding my sleeping son without any other interruptions and how nice a morning nap felt. suddenly, the phone rang. "could you please come and pick up tessa?" oops. better dash.

thankfully tessa didn't seem to notice at all that i was 20 minutes late to pick her up. she was having a grand time helping her teacher with the clean-up. she obviously doesn't have the same makeup as her sister zoe who worries if i am one minute late to pick her up from the bus. imagine how the jews felt waiting 400 years to hear from God. surely they wondered if indeed he would keep his promises to them.

400 years of silence. imagine the passing of the generations. imagine watching leadership change from the hands of the persians to the greeks, being fought over by egypt and syria, and finally being dominated by the roman empire. when would God send his forever king to stand against this madness and be the righteous and powerful ruler God had described through the prophets?

i can imagine the different ways people would react to the passing of time. some would hunker down and pore over the Scripture, hunting for every detail and clue of the Messiah's coming. some would lose hope right away and pass on their disbelief and disdain to the following generations. some would believe that only extreme faithfulness to the Scripture would bring about the Messiah's coming. some would adopt the attitude, "i'll believe it when i see it." actually, these reactions aren't much different than what we can observe around us today.

paul says that God sent Christ at just the right time. it may have seemed late to the jews who were tired of being dominated by other countries. but God knew the exact perfect time to send his son to make redemption available to the world.

we might be tired of waiting ourselves. with the doomsayers moaning about the environment and failing economy, now might seem like a good time for Christ to return; but we can trust God to know the exact time for time to end. it may feel "late in time" but as we wait, we can trust that he will indeed come.

"we praise you, God,
we praise you, for your Name is near;
people tell of your wonderful deeds.

you say, 'I choose the appointed time;
it is I who judge with equity.

when the earth and all its people quake,
it is I who hold its pillars firm...'"
(psalm 75.1-3)

for the kids: talk to them about a time when they have had to wait for somebody (hopefully not for you!). what did they do while they waited for the time to pass? what did they think about? were they worried while they waited or confident? talk about what it is like to wait for Christ. advent is the time to think about waiting. while we wait, we get ready. what are some things that they can do to get ready for Christ to return? for a project, cut numbers out of a magazine and glue them on a circle of craft foam to make a clock.

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