Christmas Day

Preached: December 25, 2008

God Timed It Perfectly for You
Galatians 4:4, 5

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit points us to Jesus is Galatians 4

When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his Son, made from a woman, made under law, to redeem those under law, in order that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4, 5)

This is the Word of our Lord.

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints who kneel at the manger of our Savior-God:

Timing can be crucial. It can come down to the split-second timing of a baseball swing or jumping for a touchdown catch in the end zone. Good timing can make the difference between an interesting story or joke and a boring one. How important timing is in cooking! You don't want the smoke detector telling you when supper's done. Even when it comes to planting our gardens and fields, timing is important. If we plant too soon, a late frost can kill the seedlings. If we plant too late, the crop won't mature before the snow falls. Sometimes we time things well; sometimes we're not so good at it.

But God's timing is perfect. “When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his Son.” God arranged all history for this moment in time. He arranged everything so that at just the right time, just as prophecy had said, everything happened just so. His timing was flawless.

Yet as his perfect plan unfolded in century after century, how many must have felt his timing was off. Did Adam and Eve realize that the Serpent-crusher was not going to be born from Eve but from a virgin several millenniums later? Or think of history closer to the time of our Savior's birth. Do you think that the Jewish people were happy that the Rome had conquered them and was using Herod to rule over them? Many must have thought, “How can God keep his promises when the Gentiles are ruling over us?” But God's plan was coming together.

Or think of Joseph and Mary when they heard that decree from Caesar Augustus about having to go back to your home to be counted and taxed. Can you almost imagine Joseph throwing up his hands in frustration? “Mary is about to have a baby. This is no time to travel. The timing couldn't be worse.” But God's timing is always best. For he used that decree to see to it that prophecy was fulfilled as Micah had foretold: “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 NIV).

And what a bad time to be in Bethlehem! No room in the inn. But this too was part of God's perfect timing. For you see, to carry out his mission, the almighty Son of God lowered himself and entered into this world under the most lowly circumstances. He did not even have a crib or a cradle, but only an animal's feeding trough to be laid in. Yes, remember what manger really is.

This was part of God's plan, perfectly timed. And he timed it this way for you. He timed it perfectly to redeem you, to ransom you with the holy, precious blood of his Son born in Bethlehem. He timed it perfectly to ransom you to be part of his family, to receive the full rights of sons as his adopted children. “When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his Son, made from a woman, made under law, to redeem those (that's you) under law, that we (yes, you) might receive adoption as sons.

And his timing not only worked out 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, but also in your life. At the right time he worked faith in your heart through Baptism and his Word. That's when you were reborn into his family. As a child of God you call on him as your dear Father. You live with the confidence that he is taking care of you, providing for you, protecting you. And as a child of God through faith in Jesus you are also an heir. You have an inheritance with him in heaven. What blessings are yours as God's children, adopted into his family with full rights of sons -- all because of God's perfect timing!

So when the timing in life seems to be going the wrong way, when your hopes and dreams don't seem to work out, when you want to throw up your hands in frustration shouting, “How could this happen now,” remember God's timing. It so often works contrary to our way of thinking, but his timing is perfect.

Come to the manger and see. No empire, army, or nation could stop him from sending your Savior. And not even Satan himself with all his legions of demons could stop the Savior from redeeming you with his blood. This all happened just as God planned at just the right time. Trust God's merciful grace to watch over you as his dear child in Jesus until he brings safely to your inheritance in heaven at just the right time.

Pastor Gregg Bitter

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
859 5th Street
Hancock, MN 56244
(320) 392-5313

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