Christmas can involve a lot of preparation—gifts to purchase, cookies to make, dinners to plan, and travel to arrange. Even with a supposedly more convenient artificial tree, I spend hours decorating!
More importantly, in the midst of the busyness, even more time is needed to prepare my heart for the celebration. I love reading Advent devotionals, and planning ministry events to serve the community, and taking the numerous opportunities to bring the knowledge and love of Christ to others. The season is busy and often exhausting, but I love it and wouldn’t change a thing!
As I was resting recently after a long day of preparations like the ones mentioned above, my mind began to reflect on the preparation for the first Christmas. I am not referring to the preparations made by Mary, Joseph, the angels or the shepherds. I am referring to God’s preparation. Scripture tells us that God had everything prepared for Jesus’ arrival:
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.
God did not send Jesus to us until the fullness of time had come—when all of His preparations were complete.
His mother, Mary, was a virgin— as promised. (Isaiah 4:14)
Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem— as promised. (Micah 5:2)
He would be in the lineage of King David—as promised. (Jeremiah 23:5-6, 2 Samuel 7:12-13)
The one who would prepare hearts for Jesus’ ministry had been born—as promised. (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1)
Kings had learned of Jesus’ birth—as promised. Psalm 72:9,10.
God set other events in place to fulfill the promises of the Old Testament, but in addition, He readied the culture and religious climate for the coming of the Messiah. History records the following:
For hundreds of years the people were trying to live under the Law in order to be reconciled with God. The history of the Jewish people demonstrated that no one could keep the Law perfectly because man and woman were inherently sinful. Because of their failure to keep the Law many would be spiritually hungry to receive the gift of grace.
During the Greek rule over Israel (approximately 300 years B.C.), the Old Testament had been translated into Greek.
By the time of the Roman rule, Greek had become a common language throughout the world which would facilitate the growth of Christianity.
The spread of the gospel would also be made possible by the construction of the Roman roads, which were in place at the time of Jesus’ birth.
God had been working throughout history to prepare the world for the coming of Christ. By sending His Son in the fullness of time, He gave us the saving choice to be redeemed and adopted as His sons and daughters. When I reflect on all the details He had perfectly set in place so that we would be able to recognize Him as the Messiah, I know that nothing is random. And if nothing was random regarding the birth of Christ, can anything be random? God’s preparations remind me that God cares for me and has a purpose for my life. Christmas really is the season of hope! Therefore, remembering to be thankful for His preparation is perhaps the most important preparation I can do this Christmas season!