November 30, 2014
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons and daughters.
I’ve got a question for you. What are calendars for? Yes, they tell us what year and month and day it is. Calendars tell us when seasons like summer and winter begin and end. Calendars remind us of our birthdays. And yes, without a calendar how would we know when Christmas comes? Calendars tell us where we need to be, when we need to be there and what to do when we get there. In short, calendars tell us what to remember.
Did you know that God has a calendar? God’s calendar tells us what to remember and when. The important days on God’s calendar are the ones where he did something amazing in the world. He wants us to remember them every single year. He wants them to be on our calendar.
So let me ask you. What are some of the most amazing things God has ever done in the world? I think we would agree on the most amazing thing God has ever done. He sent his only Son into the World. Maybe the most famous verse in the whole Bible is John 3:16. Have you learned it yet?
John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Do you know the first month on God’s calendar? Yep. Advent. The word advent is a quite ordinary word. It means “coming.” We might well call this season “Coming.” It makes sense doesn’t it, that God would begin his calendar with the coming of his Son into the world. Today is the first day of Advent, the first month on God’s calendar, the time when we remember the coming of Jesus.
Back to our Scripture for the day. But when the fullness of time had come . . .
What does that mean? Imagine a large bucket. Now imagine water slowly filling the bucket one tiny droplet at a time. Think of each drop of water like a second ticking on the clock. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, drip-drop, drip-drop, drip-drop. With each drop of water another second of history falls into the bucket. It’s like the bucket is filling up with time. That’s what the Bible means when it says, “But when the fullness of time had come.”
All the history of the world had come to a point where the bucket of time was actually full. It was so full God did something that would reset time. It’s like he was emptying the bucket and starting over again. At that moment, just the right time, God sent his Son, who was fully God to be born into this world just like us, fully human.
The advent of the Son of God proved such a monumental thing that all of time is marked by it. All of time before Jesus was born came to be called B.C., which means “Before Christ.” After Jesus was born all of time came to be called A.D., which means “Anno Domini,” or in the year of our Lord.
Imagine if all of time was ordered around your birthday. That’s how it is with Jesus. That’s why the “Advent” of Jesus Christ is the beginning of God’s calendar. It’s the time when God reset the world.
One more thing I should tell you as we get started. Everyone thinks Advent is all about getting ready for Christmas. To be sure, Advent will take us all the way to Bethlehem and that first Christmas. However, there’s another Advent we want to be getting ready for. It’s the second advent of Jesus. Jesus is coming again. When the bucket gets completely filled up with time again history will come to a close. At that moment, Jesus will return and God will RESET everything one last time.
Just like no one knew when Jesus would come the first time, no one knows when Jesus will come the second time. It is very important that we be ready. More on that in week 2. We’ve got a lot to look forward to as we journey toward Christmas. We needed to set the stage today.
Meanwhile, back in Nazareth, Mary and Joseph are saddling up the donkey and getting ready for the long trip to Bethlehem. We will meet up with them there tomorrow and get on the road.
PEOPLE GET READY. JESUS IS COMING!
Read. Hear. Meditate. Pray. Memorize. Understand: John 3:16.
The Experiment: Get a pitcher and two cups or glasses, one small and one tall. Make sure one is small enough to fit comfortably down into the other. The small cup is B.C. (Before Christ). The larger cup is A.D. (Anno Domini, In the Year of our Lord). Slowly fill the small cup with water from the pitcher. If possible, as the cup nears fullness, let the water drip into the cup. Point out how each drop is a like a second of time. Just as it is about to run over pick up the smaller cup (B.C.) and set it down into the larger cup (A.D.). Slowly pour more water into the cup until it spills over into the larger cup.
The point of the exercise is to show how the coming of Jesus, “in the fullness of time” reset history and that time will continue to fill the cups until time is full again, at which time he will come again to end the age.
Note to Parents: Remember, these are experiments. We are learning as we go. I welcome feedback in the comments below and also welcome your ideas as to how you are helping your children to enter into and understand Advent.
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