by Jan Silvious
Every year, as the busiest week of the season approaches, I resolve to be ready, having planned ahead, shopped early, and mailed my greeting cards to friends and relatives by the first of December. And every year, I find myself at the eleventh hour, racing the Christmas clock!
But God never hurries. He waits for just the right moment to unwrap His most precious gifts. "When the time had fully come, God sent his Son" (Gal. 4:4).
Jesus is the perfect Gift for a world that is sick and tired. He came to bring healing and rest and the peace that passes understanding. And He came to fill time with new meaning. "I have come that [you] may have life and have it to the full" (John 10:10).
But Jesus is also coming again. We are living between the First and the Second Advent. We look back with gratitude and thanksgiving-"Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her King!" We look forward in hope to His coming again, when all the struggle will make sense and all the questions will be answered.
In his book, Knowing the Face of God, Tim Stafford suggests that much of Jesus' teaching emphasized the "view from the end." When it's all over, we will be able to understand how all of history came together. Pain and sorrow will also be transformed by this perspective.
"If we walk through a hospital, we can encounter a practical example of this. There is one particular ward where moans are most likely to assault our ears. Young women writhe in severe and helpless pain. Their problem is obvious to the eye: their stomachs have swelled to the size of beach balls. The taut skin glistens. As the hours pass, the women's faces grow increasingly worn with pain. If they were there with any other diagnosis, say cancer, the scene would cut our hearts.
"Instead, we feel great joy in a maternity ward. The women there may be feeling as much pain as women with stomach cancer, but they look confidently toward a different end-a joyful end. Later, they will not even remember much of the process. How often have we heard a mother say, Isn't it strange how you can't remember how much it hurt?' The pain that seemed so terrible has faded away because it came to its proper end: she holds her baby."
What a perfect Gift! Jesus' coming puts everything into perspective. He is born; He is already here. He is coming again; He will be here, perhaps at any minute, but right on time. We bow before His manger throne in anticipation of seeing Him face to face!