December 29

December 29, 5th Day of Christmas    TIME, SOON

Scripture: Isaiah 9:7, Luke 1:32-33

His government and its peace
    will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
    for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
    will make this happen!

32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

Some thoughts:

     How long does forever last? We live in a world fixated on time. There is a phone near at hand much of the time. We are always working for faster and faster transactions of data. So far, the shortest measure of time is the theoretical “attoseconds” (1.2 x 10^-17 seconds) whatever that means! And what is the point? I’m reminded of the word Jesus spoke in “The Chosen” television series, “soon.” His response when asked by a disciple was, “Ah, such an interesting word. Does it mean today, this year, or some time in the next thousand years?” How often have children asked, “When will we be there?” And the answer was, “We’ll be there soon.” And their response . . .  “Well, how soon is soon?”

     Contrast “soon” with “forever.” Our mindset is often so very different from the eternal. We have trouble grasping a concept of “time” outside of our own. Isaiah and Gabriel both speak of the reign of the Son of God as never ending. The closest we may get to understanding eternity is a stream of endless days. Think of eternity not as endless hours, but no hours at all! It is more like those rare moments in our life when we are so overcome or absorbed by the events of the moment that awareness of time is not even on our radar. What if the present moment was so engaging that we never came out of the moment and the present never ended?

     The pressure is off; there is no due date! No wonder there is peace. We are often admonished in Scripture to set our minds on “things above.” C. S. Lewis comments, “Aim for heaven and you will get earth thrown in, aim for earth and you’ll get neither.” I believe this idea is part of what he was driving at.

     Coming out of an eternity not measured by time, our Savior entered this world in Bethlehem for a few short years and then left our world from the Mount of Olives to return to his Father. For that brief period, the Son of David, lived among us. But that is only the “timed” portion of the story. He has reentered eternity preparing a place for each of his children to join him when time is no more. Can you imagine being so engrossed by being the presence of God that you never check your phone for updates! God has everything under perfect control. Peace and justice abound. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies rules in compassion and love. Jesus reigns overall.

     We need always to see the Nativity in the context of the eternal. In addition to the fact that you are living on the earth, you are also a part of the eternal right now. Set your sights on heaven. Remember, Jesus’ last words in the Bible are, “Yes, I am coming soon!

Music: “Silent Night”   Home Free


Almighty God, who of Thine infinite wisdom hast ordained that I should live my life within these narrow bounds of time and circumstance, let me now to forth into the world with a brave and trustful heart. It has pleased Thee to withhold from me a perfect knowledge; therefore, deny me not the grace of faith by which I may lay hold of things unseen. Thou hast given me little power to mold things to my own desire; therefore, use Thine own omnipotence to bring Thy desires to pass within me. Thou hast willed it that through labor and pain I should walk the upward way; be Thou then my fellow traveler as I go. And grant that I be not so distracted with this world that I lose track of the eternal world to which I go. This I pray in the name of the pioneer of our faith, even Jesus Christ, the Lord. Amen.

                -adapted from A Diary of Private Prayer, John Baillie/Daniel Sharp, p.85

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