We are in the middle of the 12 days of Xmas- one of the themes of the Xmas season that often gets a back seat – is that Jesus came to earth at the right moment.
You no doubt know that because Jesus came to earth brought about a new age- a new era so that time was divided into BC & AD or in politically correct terminology BCE & AD.
You know that BC stand for “Before Christ” or as we refer to the that time along with our Jewish friends as “Before Common Era”
AD is often incorrectly thought to refer to “After Death” but then the 33 years that Jesus was in the flesh, walking the earth as a boy & a man would not be on the calendar- so properly AD is Latin “Anno Domini” “in the years of the reign of our Lord”- in the years since Jesus came to earth as the baby in the manger.
On the Church calendar, January 1st is the 8th day of Xmas- Jewish boys whenever possible were brought ot he temple pn the 8th day for circumcision & naming (just as Baptisms were often done at a few days after birth & called Christening ceremonies as a child was given its 1st name- its Christian name.)
So today let’s look briefly at the timing of Jesus’ birth & his name.
The right time or in the fullness of time that St Paul refers to in his letter to the Christians in Galatia means that Jesus birth was not just at any time but at the time that God felt was perfect to move from OT to NT- not just a moment of Chronos but a moment of Kairos when God wanted to proclaim the fulfillment of the old covenant of law & reveal the new covenant of the gospel of his son JC.
So the bright star in the sky & the setting of Christmas on the 3rd day following the longest night of darkness was not a n accident.
2017 years ago- God sent his son- his only begotten son- the long awaited messiah- the Light of the World- the Word in the flesh – to be born of a virgin.
It was the proper time- the appropriate moment in history for God to act- to declare now is the time for the coming of the Kingdom of God for the world to receive fuller revelation- to share the gospel which does not lay down a new set of laws /rules but which redeems the world.
Jesus as truly man was under the law but as truly god he placed himself under the penalty of the law in order to ransom all of humanity.
The law had no jurisdiction over the innocent & blessed lamb of God who did not sin & who was not full of guile- but he freely gave himself up on the cross so that human ever again had to fear judgment- as his life, death & resurrection was to fulfill his God appointed mission & open the door for all of us to become children of God & heirs to the legacy of the one sent form heaven.
God does nothing prematurely- as God foresees the ending & knows the beginning of all things- he knows when it is time.
The time is said to be full when all parts of an era are past & ended& then the time is ripe for God to do something.
As Mary was expecting her child the angels visited her & announced that his name shall be Jesus.
In the bible ones name matters- it is a lot more than by which people chall address you- a name says something about the person & you may recall stories in the Bible where names were changed when something significant happened.
The name Jesus literally means “God saves his people” but could just as easily mean “Jesus hears our prayers” or “Jesus loves me”
The announces Jesus is the one to accomplish the glory of God- Jesus born of the house of David he is the mighty savior- he is the long awaited messiah- he is Lord & Savior – his name speaks of who he is & what he has come to accomplish.
Jesus’ name is a sign that he is ushering in the KG- that he is to bring salvation to all- that he has come at this time to restore wholeness to the world- that he is on a God given mission to bring a peace that is more than an absence of war.
The baby’s birth & his name Jesus brings good news to all- proclaims the gospel of Immanuel, that God is with us in a special way & that we can call him our father for we are no longer slaves but children of God & inheritors of God’s promised treasure.
Perhaps what we are saying sounds a little deeper than what we usually say but it all leads to the good news that 2017 years after the 1st Xmas we continue to celebrate- we celebrate that we are in the 2017th year in the reign of our Lord who came to save the world- we live in year 2017 AD.
As we continue to celebrate that God acted at the right moment long ago to send his son We rejoice that God who is always true to his word has promised that a time only he knows he will act again by sending his son back to earth to fully manifest the KG- to bring heaven down to completely transform the earth as we know it.
It is a new year- another year in the reign of our Lord, JC & there are indications that it will be a year unlike any other – it may even be the year that God sees it is the ripe moment to act decisively
Who knows what God’s timetable is- perhaps this may be the year when darkness is fully dispelled & that God does something unexpected to save us from our sin & the consequences of the sins of others
As people of faith we believe God has the power to do things far beyond what we can imagine & certainly he can do things that we cannot do on our own- like defeating death & opening the way for a new life beyond the grave.
That is why we gather on Sundays & holidays to celebrate the Good News that God has acted & will act again & again & that his son Jesus did indeed fulfill his mission & live up to his name – that God has & will save his people.
Today is the 1st day of a new year.
It is human to start a new year fresh with hope & to make resolutions- usually resolutions to change our behavior & stop a bad habit or 2.
But I proclaim to you that as we begin a new year – the 2017th AD the message is simple- God is in control & he loves us so much that he is always close at hand & does not want exclude any of us from helping or collecting the prize.
Therefore in 2017 let us resolve not just to turn over a page on the calendar & make promises that we are sure to fail to keep but enter into the new year with a commitment to grow spiritually & intentionally each day to remember the themes: God is always involved in what happens on earth – sometimes doing ordinary things & sometimes extraordinary & that God so loves the world that his on-going gift is salvation thru his son- JC our Lord who has turned over the Good News to us to share.
Life for God’s people is rooted in worship and service in the world is a continuation of the worship service.