“The time came for her to have her child.”
The time came for each one of us. For me, the time came at 7PM sharp on August 30th, 1988. For my sister, the time came at 2:30AM on May 15th, 1991. For my beautiful little niece, the time finally came at 5:30AM on May 6th, 2019.
For each and every one of us here today: The time came for your mother to give birth. The time came! A finite moment in time, never to be repeated — never to be duplicated — you came into this world: an absolutely unique identity, prepared and known by a merciful and generous God! After being knit together meticulously in your mother’s womb for nine months — Finally, you entered this world at a particular time — at a specific hour — An hour which made a permanent difference on this world forever. You had entered it. The wonder of your being had been revealed, unveiled, for a divine purpose.
This is such a great mystery.
And yet, things become even stranger, even more bewildering when we consider this:
The time came for God to be born.
The hour arrived, when all of the Father’s promises and preparations, knit together meticulously not for 9 months, but literally thousands of years through countless prophets and revelations, indeed from the very dawn of time, all of these plans finally came to fruition through the womb of a humble Virgin.
And the world was changed permanently.
This, my brothers and sisters, is the dizzying, fantastic, and truly world-upending claim of Christmas: Yes, the shocking claim of Christianity itself: That the time came for Jesus Christ, our salvation, our life, our one true hope for absolute peace, to finally be born.
And what an hour that was! One finite moment for the Infinite to open his eyes for the very first time. One created minute, hand-picked from all eternity, became the “fullness of time” in which the uncreated God chose to show Himself as what? A helpless baby in a cave. Eternity Himself stepped into Time. It really happened. God became man to save us from ourselves — to redeem our brokenness, to defeat sin forever.
HE WANTED TO BECOME US, SO THAT WE COULD BECOME HIM.
The time came.
I wonder, though — Do we sometimes think that His time is over?
I think it’s very easy to let that hour stay locked in the distant past. We assemble our nativity sets once a year and say, that’s how Jesus was born…a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Ancient history. We like that kind of Jesus because he is safe. But the problem is: that is an irrelevant Jesus. That is not a Jesus worth believing in.
The Good News is, my brothers and sisters, that despite what we might have heard elsewhere: It is still the time of Christ. These are still the “days of Jesus.” It is still — it is ALWAYS — the Hour for us to come and adore Him, as the shepherds once adored him in that little town of Bethlehem! It’s still time for His grace and mercy to be born in the mangers of our hearts! This is important! Never fall for the lie that Jesus’ time has passed — that he is locked in an obsolete era!
Sure, the world might have “moved on” from the time of Christ — They may think it’s all over: But we who gather here to celebrate that empire-toppling, sin-destroying, world-overturning event of Christmas know and believe that His time is NOW — In fact, ALL Time belongs to Him. He is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega.
He still lives! And we are convinced of this because:
The Scriptures are still speaking today.
The sick are still being visited, anointed and healed today.
Sins are still being put to death in every confessional today.
The poor are still being served and treated with dignity today.
The Holy Spirit still fills people with courage and boldness today.
The miracle of the Eucharist is still offered and received from every altar today.
The sanctuary lamp is still burning before every Tabernacle today.
If Jesus’ time has passed — if it’s over as the world seems to think it is: How dark our future truly is!
But we are the people who once “walked in darkness!” We ourselves “have seen a great light!” We who “dwelt in a land of gloom” have miraculously, by an unexpected and beautifully free gift of God’s grace, been given a beam of light in the darkness: The light of faith which fills us with HOPE.
Because “a child is born to us, a Son is given us.” Not “was born for us 2,000 years ago.” Christ’s love is in the present tense. Jesus is God’s love for the world. The one who says “I AM,” still is. It’s still His Time. From this altar, we will soon hear: “This IS my Body,” not “WAS” my Body. His dominion is vast! Forever peaceful. Now and forever. Wonder-Counselor! God-Hero! Father-Forever, Prince of Peace — now and forever.
And so we draw near once again to the manger : to witness for ourselves this thing that has happened! To give God glory in the highest. To lay down our lives for Christ the Lord whose time is right now.
O come, let us adore.