Summary: What we want to see is that though timing may not be everything to Christmas it is plenty, and a focus on the timing of Christmas events can be quite revealing.
Timing may not be everything, but it is plenty. At the dedication
service of the Statue of Liberty a boy was to wave a flag indicating
that Senator William Evarts had finished his speech. This way the
signal for men high in the head of the statue to let go of a giant
French flag, which in turn was the signal for the vessels in harbor to
let loose with their whistles. Unfortunately, the Senator paused too
long, and the boy thinking he was finished set all this commotion in
motion. The Senator never did get to finish his speech. Wrong
timing ruined it for him.
On the other hand, the graduating class of Harvard in 1949
became the most successful group of graduates in history. It was
because of the longest, richest, and most wide spread peace time
boom the modern world had ever seen. The 49'ers, because of the
timing of their entering into the economy, became rich. One out of 5
became millionaires by 1974. They became the leaders of the upper
branches of American enterprise. They became the chairmen and
presidents of the largest companies and colleges.
The same thing happened to the class of 1915 at West Point, but
for the opposite reason. Because of the timing of the two World
Wars, this class was called the class the stars fell on. Many of them
became generals, and one by the name of Eisenhower even became
president of the United States. Timing really does matter. It is by
precise timing that God works in history and in our lives to do
wonders without miracles.
A pastor's wife back in the 70's was selected to be on the
$128,000 Question. It was a popular TV show in Canada. She and
her husband needed money badly, and so they prayed for guidance.
She got to the $16,000 level, but they needed double that, so she
agreed to come back the next day. Before the show the next day she
relaxed by walking through one of Toronto's malls. She picked up a
book and leafed through it. She found a page that listed all the plays
of Agatha Christie and their opening dates. This was the area her
questions were in, and so she read the list through. That night her
$32,000 question was to list titles and opening dates of the plays of
Agatha Christie. She did not know these answers before that day,
but she had picked them up in the mall and was able to win $32,000.
She felt that God had given her what she needed, and she refused to
continue out of greed to get more. She called it a miracle, but it
really wasn't. It was a matter of perfect timing, and that is what we
The point of all this is, it is time for us to focus again on the birth
of our Lord. It is time to focus on that incredible and
incomprehensible miracle of the incarnation. The incarnation was a
miracle, but so many of the events surrounding it were providential.
That is, they were all a matter of precise timing. Paul makes timing
an issue in Gal. 4:4 where he states, "But when the time has fully
come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.
What we want to see is that though timing may not be everything to
Christmas it is plenty, and a focus on the timing of Christmas events
can be quite revealing.
The whole of history had to be coordinated to bring about this
event with precise timing. Caesar had to give his order for a census
at just the right time so as to get Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem at
the time of her delivery. The angel Gabriel had to come to Mary at
the right time. It was just 6 months after Elizabeth became
pregnant with John the Baptist so she could have the consolation of
another woman in her trying time. Her own conception had to be
timed to fit the scheduled delivery when she was in Bethlehem.
It was the right time in history for Jesus to come. The whole
world was prepared by Alexander the Great to carry the message of
Christ to all the world. He made Greek the common language of the
world so that the Gospel could be carried to every land in that
common language. Timing plays a role in the shepherds being in the
field, and the wise men seeking for a star. Timing is the name of the
game in the biblical events, and in the celebration of these events.
Consider for example,
I. THE TIME OF THE YEAR FOR CHRISTMAS.
Dec. 25th was a time of celebration long before Jesus came. This
was the time of the year when the sun began to return to the