In modern life, time has become primarily a quantitative measure. “How much time is left?” we ask. Yet we also talk about having a bad time or a good time, which suggests that time possesses a qualitative dimension as well. Paul writes of the “fullness” of time when God sent Jesus Christ, who fulfilled Jewish law and, by fulfilling it, opened up the opportunity for non-Jews to enter into the family of God, to become God’s children by adoption.
Many Christians today overlook what an incredible gift it is to be a Christian. Perhaps we take for granted our standing before God and our ready access to God’s mercy and blessings. Paul describes Gentile Christians as heirs to God’s promises. But we are heirs, he writes, by adoption. In a profound way, then, God is not our “natural” Father. So how much more precious is it that we too can cry out “Abba” and feel confident that God listens to us?
With our inclusion in God’s people, it is not only we who are redeemed but time itself. The Bible tells us that time was not simply ticktocking along throughout the many centuries prior to Jesus’ birth, nor is the time between Jesus’ day and our own lacking in significance. God has a plan for the world, and God is working it out. Even when we struggle to find signs of God’s activity or when we encounter the all-too-frequent tragedies in this fallen world, we can remain confident that God is God. Time itself is God’s own creation. One day all will be made plain to us, and, as adopted heirs of God’s promises, nothing “in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).
Abba, thank you for making us part of your family, for making us part of your plan for the world. Amen.
The beginning of the New Year reminds us of God’s love for all peoples through the celebration of Epiphany. Isaiah uses imagery of a wedding and a garden to declare that the beauty arising from Israel will go to all nations. The psalmist praises the Lord on behalf of everything and everyone on the earth, including men and women from all peoples. Paul proclaims that Christ fulfills the expectations of Israel; he is the open door for all to become children of God. In Luke, Simeon and Anna speak prophetically over the infant Jesus in the Temple, declaring him the light to the Gentiles. God’s promises made in love are fulfilled in love.
• Read Isaiah 61:10–62:3. How are you daily becoming Zion, a person of justice?
• Read Psalm 148. How does your connection to God connect you to creation?
• Read Galatians 4:4-7. How confident are you that God listens to your prayer?
• Read Luke 2:22-40. When have you experienced sacrifice as gain rather than loss?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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