“The Fullness Of Time”
As happens frequently the editor must remind yours truly of the upcoming deadline for submission of an article. So in the beginning of November came the reminder that the Christmas article was due. Already? Christmas?
But the reminder also serves another good purpose. It reminds one of how quickly the years pass, and how the “deadline” for each of us is drawing closer. Each day brings us closer to that day when the Lord will call us.
That day can be a day of dread or a day of anticipation. For many the “fullness of time” is a day of dread because they are not ready to face the consequence of a wasted life. What a tragedy! It is surely the greatest of all tragedies that people for whom Jesus died should experience the endlessness of eternity in hell because they rejected the Lord of Glory.
On the other hand, for the Christian the “fullness of time” is a day of anticipation. The Christian whose heart is rooted in Christ Jesus anticipates the day of salvation when the Lord Jesus will come to take His sisters and brothers home. For this cause the Savior was born according to promise.
The “fullness of time” for each believer is assured because of the faithfulness of the Heavenly Father Who “When the fullness of the time was come . . . sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4).
After many centuries–in which the patience of the Father was tried by the people of Israel as we read in the prophets–the “fullness of time” had come, and
He spoke to his beloved Son: 'Tis time to have compassion. Then go, bright Jewel of My crown, And bring to man salvation; From sin and sorrow set him free, Slay bitter death for him that he May live with Thee forever. (TLH 387:5)
After many years of waiting, the watchful remnant of believers rejoiced to see the “fullness of time.” Anna and Simeon were not disappointed but could depart in peace when time turned into eternity for them. The blessed message of Christ’s birth, which so filled their heart with joy, is the timeless message that still gives peace and hope in an increasingly disquieting world. In spite of the world’s best efforts to dull the brightness, the Jewel still shines in splendor for all who believe.
The passing of time also reminds us that in the year 2000 the Church of the Lutheran Confession will be 40 years old. As with our physical eyes, so our eyesight as a Church may grow dim through the years of struggle, toil, and not least of all, the weaknesses of those who make it up. For surely we are flesh, and we are a church made up of those who must confess, “Woe is me,” as the prophet Isaiah said.
In the changing scenes of personal and church life, there remains one constant–the bright shining Jewel that is Christ, Whose glory even the cross could not diminish. To hold the Jewel before the world so that through its brightness still others may be drawn to its light remains the one and only purpose of our church. The glow of youth may no longer be evident in our life as individuals or as a church, but the glow of Christ still shines and will continue to shine among us and from us, so long as each of us recognizes that the “fullness of time” is fast approaching when the Lord will come again in glory to take us home.
If by the coming of Christmas we are alerted again to the passing of time and to the urgency of the moment, then this Christmas will be a blessing to us, and through us to others. May God through His Spirit see to it.
May this Christmas be a joyous time for you and your family, and may Jesus our Savior bless you with His peace as you contemplate God’s faithfulness in the “fullness of time” so that your “fullness of time” might be awaited in faith and confidence until time is translated into glory with your Lord.
–Pastor Daniel Fleischer