“At Just The Right Time”

My pastor mentor taught me a valuable lesson years ago: “don’t major in the minors.” He meant that it’s pointless to get bogged down in trivial debates about the Bible. One such “minor” that gets majored in this time of year is this: “Was Jesus really born on December 25th?” My short answer is this: “We don’t really know and who cares?” Seriously, who cares?!? Apparently, lots of people.

Some scholars argue that the December date is a co-opting of a pagan holiday. Others say that a compelling case can be made that December 25th is Jesus’ actual birth date, using Scriptural time cues. I’m of the opinion that even if the date has pagan origins, they are no longer relevant to the celebration of Christ’s birth. Here is what is important: Jesus came “at just the right time.”

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6 (NIV)

4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Galatians 4:4-5(NIV)

What did the Apostle Paul mean when he wrote “at just the right time” and “when the set time had fully come?” He meant this: From a critical moment in the Garden of Eden, God orchestrated every minute, every development in human history to right what had gone horribly wrong. Eden was perfect until Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptation of Satan, posing as a serpent. In Genesis 3, we read of the fall and God explaining to Adam and Eve the consequences of their actions, namely, how difficult life will now be. Then God turns His attention to Satan:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.” Genesis 3:15 (NIV)

This moment is referred to by Biblical scholars as the Protoevangelium ((Proto-E-van- JELLY-uhm), or “First Gospel.” This is the first mention in Scripture of The Messiah who will come to fix what Adam and Eve broke. And it occurs in the third chapter of the Bible!

The offspring of Eve refers to Jesus. The offspring of Satan refers to those who would do his work in this world. Jesus would crush Satan’s head on the cross; victory would be achieved, and the gap between humanity and God created in the Garden would be closed.

During this Christmas season, major in the majors: Who Jesus is, Why He came, how His arrival was the completion of God’s plan and what it all means for us now and in the future. We are saved by God’s grace because of Christ’s work on the cross. That means it’s fitting to celebrate His arrival on earth on December 25th and every other day of the year.

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