THEME: OUR SAVIOUR WAS BORN IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME
READINGS: Isaiah 52:7-10/ Hebrews 1:1-6/ John 1:1-18
The birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ was not an ad hoc or impromptu measure by God to save the world. It was, rather, a fulfillment of an eternal plan of God. St. Paul captures this succinctly: “when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman” (Gal. 4:4; NRSV). While we joyfully celebrate the eternally unique birth, which gladdened the angels of God (cf. Luke 2:8-14), let us spiritually savour some of the amazing truths revealed by the fact that our Saviour’s birth was a fulfillment of an eternal plan of God.
Firstly, the fact that Jesus’ birth was a fulfillment of God’s eternal plan reveals the truth that we were in the mind of God before creation. Once again, St. Paul expresses this truth as follows: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:3-4). Beloved, is it not overwhelming to know that we were all in the mind of God before the foundation or creation of the world? Such an overwhelming knowledge should stir a spontaneous heartfelt gratitude to God.
Secondly, God who had us in mind before creation planned then for our salvation. This is well expressed in the continuation of the above quotation from the Letter to the Ephesians: God “chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him in love. He destined us for adoption as His children through Jesus Christ…. In Him we have redemption through His blood…. He has made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:4-10; cf. Rom. 8:28-30).
Thirdly, the fact that Jesus’ birth was a fulfillment of God’s eternal plan reveals the truth of God’s unfathomable love for us. It was only out of a love that is deeper than the depth of our understanding and wider than the breadth of our explanation that He who created us could put in place a pre-creation plan to save us should we disobey. Moreover, only an unconditional love beyond the comprehension of humans could motivate the design of a plan that would cost the Father the death of His only begotten Son (cf. John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10; John 15:13). Our appropriate response to such love is to love God at all cost and to love our neighbours as ourselves (cf. 1 John 3:16-17; 4:7-13).
Fourthly, the fact that Jesus’ birth was a fulfillment of God’s eternal plan reveals the truth that God’s providence is ineffable. He who loves us so much provides more than adequately for us. Therefore, our trust in Him should be steadfast in all circumstances, especially in the difficult times of our lives. He does not abandon us in the difficult times. Indeed, the problems which we reckon as meaningless and unhelpful, God knows very well why we encounter them and how helpful they are in the grand scheme of our salvation. Let us, therefore, always trust in the providence of the all-loving, all-knowing and all-wise God.
Fifthly, the fact that Jesus’ birth was a fulfillment of God’s eternal plan reveals the truth that the birth of each of us is in fulfillment of God’s plan. He who planned the birth of His Son planned the birth of each of us. None of us arrived on this earth as a mistake nor at the wrong time. We were born in accordance with His will or purpose. Indeed, each of us was specially crafted by Him. This is beautifully captured by the Psalmist:
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed
Therefore, instead of allowing the challenges of life to compel us to complain, let us live a life of gratitude to our Maker and Saviour.
Finally, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ this Christmas, may we overflow with joy in gratitude to God who had us in mind before creating the world, who out of His unfathomable love for us, planned our salvation even before creating us, who designed and willed the birth of each of us and who provides for us more than we can ask for or imagine. Amen!
I wish you, A MERRY CHRISTMAS!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis