Monday, January 02, 2006

Advent: When the Time is Fulfilled

We're in the home stretch of Advent now. Today, Eberhard Arnold looks at the verse in Luke that says..."the time was fulfilled for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first born, a son." Luke 2:5,6

The "fullness of time" is an interesting concept. I've often thought about it in terms of my starting a church. I wanted to start a church as early as twenty years ago but the time or conditions never seemed right. I had almost given up on the idea but then a few years back it looked like the time might be right. After five more years of waiting, it finally happened, and it's everything I had hoped for and more.

Arnold says we need to remember these things because there is always a temptation to doubt.

We work sometimes until we are weary and yet we see so little fruit. Does everything remain as it was? Haven't we gone forward at all? Have we really been able to help a little somewhere, or have we merely affected the surface of things? Where is the trace or glimpse of the goal we long for? What are all our efforts against the apparently indestructible powers of misery and evil?

Arnold says that at these moments of despair we need to remember that God is the one who brings things to fruition in his time and in his way.

Christmas did not come after a great mass of people had completed something good, or because of the successful result of any human effort. No, it came as a miracle, as the child that comes when his time is fulfilled ...

But to bring some balance, Arnold says that there is some degree of our involvement in God moving. Mary had to be willing to bear the child. It was her willingness that released the will of God. And so, in our lives, we can speed God's coming by our openess to humbly embrace his will for our lives.

For the miracle of God comes not only from above; it also comes through us; it is also dwelling in us.

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