A Moment in Time; A Timeless Moment!
December 31, 2022
In Galatians 4:4 the apostle Paul wrote: "But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman..." (KJV)
This verse is so jam-packed with meaning that it almost causes us to drop our Bibles from the sheer weight of it! And if this profound statement does not cause our jaws to drop, maybe accompanied by our knees, perhaps it's because we've become too used to the truth it presents.
J.B. Phillips speculates: "Possibly we have forgotten, through very familiarity, that what we sometimes lightly call the "Incarnation", is by far the most important single fact of human history." (J.B. Phillips, "For This Day", P. 246) The word incarnation is a word stating the doctrine that the Son of God was conceived in the womb of Mary and that Jesus is true God and true man.
At a moment in time, God, through the Virgin Mary, brought forth a timeless moment. So timeless that it continues to seep through all else that Christmas has become.
Time, a concession on God's part for earth, for God, even in miniature, is Eternal. The Psalmist wrote; "Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God" (Psalm 90:2). And the apostle Peter, reminding God's people that time can only be properly understood in the light of eternity, wrote: "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day" (11 Peter 3:8).
God is eternal, but because he has given us a parenthesis in eternity called time, he choses to work within that parenthesis. There are God-moments which are timeless in their far-reaching effects. Moments in time that change us, change history forever. Let's reflect on four of them.
1. Mary's Moment: "Now!" said God, and the angel, Gabriel left heaven for Nazareth, stepping out of eternity into the parenthesis of time: in this case, Mary's time, the time of a young teen. As we might well imagine, for we would be the same, "Mary was greatly troubled" by Gabriel's appearance within her parenthesis. So that the Holy Spirit might be allowed to breathe new life into the story for us let us hear it from The Message by Eugene Peterson: "Gabriel greeted her: 'Good morning! You're beautiful with God's beauty, beautiful inside and out! God be with you.'" "She was throughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, 'Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you' You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.'" "He will be great, be called 'Son of the Highest.' The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; He will rule Jacob's house forever-- no end, ever, to his kingdom."
Mary wants to know how such a thing can happen since she has "never slept with a man." The angel answers: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the highest will hover over you."
That's what the Spirit of God did just prior to creation (Genesis 1:2). What God did in the beginning he can do again in a young woman's womb. "Therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God."
Now it is Mary's moment. For us it has become an easy read, but for Mary, the real Mary, it was a huge moment; huge in it's earthly implications; huge in its prophetic moorings, huge in its long term effects - even upon us. Does God dare lay such a moment, a timeless moment, on a teenage girl? All of Heaven holds its breath - all but God, that is. For its implications our lives we might also hold our breath. If there was ever a moment for Protestants to cast a prayer in Mary's direction, this would have been a good time. Mary forms her moment into words. Are you ready? "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." A moment in time: words that take Mary only a few seconds to say. "But it is a timeless moment for Mary and for us. For time alone will not be able to contain the fruit of her words." A moment in time, a real moment in real circumstances a timeless moment was born; "Unto us a Savior was born; he is Christ the L
Jesus said to a church in the book of Revelation: "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20) That is a verse that has been applied many times to the door of our hearts: a door with a doorknob only on the inside. It's a door of decision; a decision to be made in a moment of time, but having made that decision it becomes a timeless moment.
Until next time,