This Christmas Season there has been a fair amount of talk about timing. Many department and discount stores opened up Thanksgiving Day, saying it was because there were six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.
Many of us have felt that rush to get Christmas cards out, presents bought, and to fit office and other parties in. Time. At Christmas, there never seems to be enough.
I remember 15 or so years ago. I was getting my hair cut, and the lady who did it answered the phone. I heard her say, “I know, isn’t it crazy? Christmas is really sneaking up on us, they put it on the 25th this year.” After she hung up, we both laughed.
Time is an important, if not tyrannical, part of our lives. We live by our clocks and calendars. We measure days, weeks, decades, centuries and millennium.
This Christmas, I hope we all make the most of our time and ask ourselves, what is the time right for in my life today?
The Bible has a great deal to say about time, and references timing often.
Most popularly in the Book of Ecclesiastes, when it says there is “a time for everything under heaven,” a passage used in a hit song in 1965, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by the Byrds.
In the Book of Esther, Queen Esther is challenged that she was meant “for such a time as this,” meaning she was put in her position to do something meaningful and important. For each of us, this is our time; we each have been born for such a time as this.
In the New Testament book of Galatians, in the fourth chapter, we read, “When the time had fully come God sent His Son into the world ...” The author is saying that when Jesus came, when Christmas happened, it was the right time. In fact, the full meaning says that when the time was “mature” or “ripened.” Jesus came at the right time in human history. When the clock of human history struck 12, God entered our world to redeem it. Within a short span of history, His message of grace, forgiveness, peace and eternal life would spread across the globe, yet it remains timeless and relevant today.
This Christmas, I encourage each of us to ask, what is the time right for me to do this year? What deeper meaning can I gain from Christmas than I have before? What new way of helping others can I set myself to? This year is a unique time in our lives. The opportunities and challenges before us will never be exactly the same. In what ways, and for what things, has the time become mature in your life this year? What opportunities for advancement and serving others are you called to take? What deeper meaning are you called to glean from God’s love and grace offered at Christmas?
The Rev. Albert Gillin is senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church. Contact him at 509-525-1093 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.