“When all the necessary and predicted events had fallen into place, the Saviour came exactly where God appointed Him to be born and at the time God wanted Him to come." —Charles R. Swindoll
Jesus’ birth was no last-minute, hope-it-works plan! Jesus was born exactly where and when God intended. God’s predetermined plan was like a magnet, pulling together the events surrounding Christ’s birth so that Jesus was born at just the right time, in just the right place.
This study for Christmas reminds us that God sovereignly gets His way, often through circumstances no one expected. The magnetism of God’s plan drew Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem; it summoned the shepherds to the manger to worship Jesus; and it shone the way for the wise men on their quest to find the King of Kings. It still draws us to Jesus like a heavenly magnet as we come together and worship our Lord and Saviour at Christmas.
On that first Christmas, the divine Son of God took His first human breath as He entered humanity as one of us. The moment of Jesus’ birth was an event like none other in history, and it changed the world forever. Its appeal was...and still is...irresistible!
Observing God’s sovereign plan at work in the details of Luke’s Christmas narrative leads us to a better understanding of “the fullness of time” in Galatians 4:4. Read the following verses and reflect on the meaning of this phrase.
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4–5 NASB1995)
How had biblical history culminated according to God’s timetable and reached its “fullness” at the coming of Christ? For a hint, turn back one chapter in Luke and read Zacharias’ prophecy of Jesus’ birth as the fulfilment of God’s promises to David and Abraham (Luke 1:68–73) and the ultimate fulfilment of God’s rescue of His people (1:74–79). Based on this passage, what promises were fulfilled when Jesus was born?
By fulfilling the teaching and prophecies of the Old Testament, the coming of Christ signalled a new era in God’s redemptive plan—a new era radiantly marked by the Messiah’s star rising in the east!