Christmas is a wonderful time of the year as Christians around the world commemorate the birth of Christ. But have you examined some of the myths surrounding the nativity depicted by a crib? For instance, did you know that the shepherds and the wisemen could not have been in the same scene? The wisemen came to a house and saw Jesus as a child about two years later! And who said there were only three of them? I must confess there are times I miss the white Christmas’ we had the last four years in England. But familiar as I am with Middle Eastern climate, whenever I see snow (cotton) around the manger, I know something is just not right!
We may be mistaken on the details of Christ’s birth but the Bible is clear that “when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son…” (Gal. 4:4). Jesus’ coming into the world (Advent) took place at the right time in terms of the historical event (chronos) and being at the opportune moment (kairos). Studying the times of Jesus of Nazareth, one can see how the Roman government (Pax Romana), Greek learning, and Hebrew religiosity both culturally and sociopolitically prepared the way for Christ and advanced the spread of his teachings. It was, I would say, the ripe time. Whenever God acts, it is the right time and it calls for an appropriate response. There are some amazing facts related to that first Christmas that show us God is always right and right on time…
Various biblical texts indicate God’s perfect timing when he sent his Son, Jesus at the right period chronologically, but there is more. Of all the possible places in the world, Jesus was born at the right place geographically since the location of his hometown was prophesied over 700 years ago (Micah 5:2). Is it mere coincidence that Governor Quirinus issues a decree which required Joseph to leave Nazareth for Bethlehem at the exact time Mary was expecting Jesus? Further, Jesus was born of the right parenthood genealogically (2 Sam. 7 :12), as his earthly mother had the right preparations biologically–something impossible without God’s intervention (Isa. 7:14). According to divine plan and promise, Jesus was born in the little town of Bethlehem, in the lineage of King David, and conceived by the Virgin Mary! Most significantly, Jesus was born for the right purpose theologically. He came primarily to reconcile, or put human beings back into a right relationship with God. The apostle Paul declared this succinctly and offered himself as a living proof that “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).
Jesus was “God with skin on,” so to say. No matter what we are going through, those who trust in Christ can be assured that he does make all things beautiful in his time. Based on what Jesus accomplished in his humanity, viz paying the price for and putting away sins by the sacrifice of himself, we humans can know forgiveness from sins, experience peace with God and goodwill with all people. The incarnation makes it possible for us to know God’s saving power. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can personally receive God’s costly salvation as a free gift even today. This is the right response God is looking for and now is the right time to do so!