I am a self-confessed planner. I look at an end goal and love to work backwards- planning and strategizing and timing. But we all know how our strength can also be our weakness. God’s timetable verses Katie’s timetable. I’m 37 years old and you would think I would succumb to God’s timetable. But I haven’t. I foolishly resist, question, and doubt God’s timing in my life and the fulfillment of His promises and the desires of my heart.
But Christmas is my yearly reminder of how timing is MOST important in God’s plan for our lives. Consider how important timing was for the fulfillment of God’s plan to send a Savior for us on that first Christmas.
St. Paul tells us in Galatians 4:4, But when the time had fully come… When the timing was right, when everything had come together fully, not partially, Jesus was born.
For centuries God had promised to send the Messiah, the Savior. The Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, had foretold that the Chosen One would be born of a virgin. He would rule on King David’s throne, bring justice and righteousness, and would do great miracles of healing.
But for over 600 years the Messiah did not come; the promises were not fulfilled. Why? The timing was not right: “The time had NOT fully come!” Six hundred years, people! And the thought of waiting six months, or two years about kills me!
So what made God say, “NOW is the time I will send the Savior!”? Below are 4 important historical events at the time of Christ’s birth that made it the PERFECT time for Christ to come.
Event #1. Near the end of King Herod’s reign the time became right. Rome had conquered most of the southern half of Europe, the entire Mediterranean world and the Middle East. The Roman Pax, the thousand years of peace, had just begun. A network of advanced highways connected the different parts of the empire. Travel was much easier and safer; ideas and news could spread quicker.
Event #2. One language, Koine (or common) Greek, was spoken throughout the entire Roman Empire and unified people all over the Empire. Communication, oral and written, was easy because Koine Greek had become the official language of the Roman Empire. The time was right for the message of the Gospel of Jesus to be quickly dispersed and shared with peoples of all tribes and nations. The time had fully come!
Event #3. Rome decided it was time to count how many citizens it had, so King Herod ordered a census and made everyone return to their hometown to be registered. Joseph and Mary were both from the same tribe of David, so they traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus- JUST like the prophet Micah prophesied:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”- Micah 5:2
Event #4. Six hundred years before Christ, half the Jewish nation was driven out of Israel by the Babylonians where they escaped to Egypt. When Herod tried to have the baby Jesus killed, Mary and Joseph hid Jesus within that established Jewish community in Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15). God had Jesus’ escape route prepared for 600 years. Now THAT is some planning!
We can trust in God’s timing for our lives, too. It is part of our human nature to challenge God when our schedule is not kept. We want promises answered now (arms folded, stomping our feet)! Promises fulfilled now! And promises kept now! But God’s timing often is not ours.
Because Jesus’ coming, His ministry, His death, and His resurrection all took place at the right time, we can trust in God’s timing for our lives.
It can be sooo difficult to accept at first when a relationship falls apart, our job is eliminated, a painful illness strikes out of nowhere. It can be so discouraging when we cannot make any sense out of a loss, a struggle, a disappointment, rejection, our future, or a painful experience.
Did you ever think that maybe God hasn’t answered your prayer your way because He has something better and bigger planned, and the timing for everything to come together just hasn’t happened yet? I have to constantly remind myself that God is working behind the scenes and orchestrating the right people, opportunities and circumstances. I see God’s perfect timing in my past, so why do I doubt His perfect timing for my future?
We can step out in faith and trust in God’s timing. God’s timing was PERFECT in the birth of His Son. Let His timing in the birth of the Christ Child assure you that God’s timing for your life will be perfect, too.