The Editor’s Desk by Shawn McMullen
And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn (Luke 2:6, 7, English Standard Version).
The simple phrase is couched in a simple sentence, but it’s rich with meaning: the time came.
In human terms, it was a long time coming. The time was in the mind of God from the beginning, as Jesus Christ the Word “was with God in the beginning” (John 1:2, New International Version) before he “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (v.14).
In the Garden of Eden God spoke to the serpent about the time—a time when the woman’s offspring would enter the world and deal him a crushing death blow (Genesis 3:15).
God pointed Abraham to the time, promising to bless all nations on earth through his offspring (Genesis 22:18). Paul identified his offspring as Jesus (Galatians 3:16).
Moses predicted the time when he stated, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you” (Deuteronomy 18:15). Peter identified that prophet as Jesus the Messiah (Acts 3:18-22).
God directed King David to the time by promising, “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16).
The prophet Isaiah pointed to the time, offering hope to a troubled nation: ‘‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. . . . He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever” (Isaiah 9:6, 7).
Jeremiah spoke of the time when God would “raise up for David a righteous Branch” known as “The Lord Our Righteous Savior” (Jeremiah 23:5, 6).
Ezekiel looked ahead to the time when God’s people would be led by “one shepherd” (Ezekiel 34:23).
To Daniel, the time was connected to a vision of “the Ancient of Days” who “was given authority, glory and sovereign power,” whom “all nations and peoples of every language worshiped,” whose “dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away,” and whose “kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13, 14).
Speaking on God’s behalf, the prophet Zechariah looked to the time when God would bring forth “my servant, the Branch” (Zechariah 3:8).
The time was part of God’s eternal plan, set into motion from the beginning of the world. Prophets searched for it and angels longed to look into it (1 Peter 1:12).
And then, at long last, the time came: “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).
This Christmas, let’s thank God for weaving his wonderful promise through the ages with perfect timing and unending love. Let’s worship him from our hearts, rejoicing because the time came.