“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.” (Gal 4:4). These words from Paul have been read at Mass numerous times. This last week of advent, they seem to take on even more meaning.
I love the beginning phrase of that sentence, “the fullness of time.” If I were going to illustrate that, it would be a strawberry at its peak of ripeness, all red, juicy and sweet; a feast for all the senses. God sends His promise when the time is ripe for mankind to receive it. If He sent His Son right after the fall of Adam and Eve, it would not have the same impact. God spent centuries teaching fallen man how to reconnect with Him. He created a people by seeking out individuals like Abraham, Isaac, Moses and David, to help their fellow man have a relationship with God the Father. In the Christmas Eve vigil gospel, we hear the careful preparation of man in the lineage from which Jesus is born.
Advent is a time for us to prepare ourselves to receive Jesus at his birth. The Church gives us four Sundays to prepare. It seems that once we get to the Fourth Sunday in Advent, Christmas cannot come fast enough, especially when Christmas falls on a Sunday, a whole 7 days to wait! Christmas comes in the fullness of God’s time, not ours. It’s very easy to get caught up in planning for and anticipating the Christmas celebration, that we don’t experience each day that leads up to Christmas. If Christmas came tomorrow, we would not be ready, yet our anticipation can often lead us to wish it would come immediately.
God does not delay; He delivers His promise at the time He chooses that will be of the greatest blessing to us. In the last week of Advent, let’s practice preparing to receive His blessing by patiently enduring the wait.