Advent Devotional 2: The wonder of Christmas is experienced through recognizing the nature of God.

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The wonder of Christmas is experienced through recognizing the nature of God.

The very word theology simply means the study of God. The apostle Paul in this passage shows us a theology of God — he shows us the nature of God. The nature of God according to Galatians 4:4 is a God of intimate involvement with his own creation. For the apostle Paul says “in the fullness of time, God…” This means that God is sovereign. Sovereignty speaks of His control of all things. There are, admittedly, many difficulties involved with the word sovereignty when contemplated by the limited, finite mind of mankind. I certainly do not confess to know the fullness of the mind of God. His ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are greater than our thoughts saith Isaiah. However, God has revealed to us some of his thoughts and some of his ways. The Lord has shown that he is in fact sovereign. He is revealed to us that time and across the unfolding drama of Scripture. The universe and, yes, your very life is known—is ordered—by this glorious Creator-Redeemer-God. He not only knows, but so orders all things that His divine will is brought forward. There is mystery in that statement that cannot be fully comprehended but if received can bring peace. The things that have happened in your life whether good or bad, whether evil or righteous, are not only known to God but God in some way, in some sense, is in control of those. God is not the author of evil. God does not willingly afflict the children of mankind. These are biblical truths. However, at the same time, if God is God, we must admit that nothing can pass by his throne without his consent. I say again, this is a mystery yet the fact of his sovereignty is undeniable in the Bible. The mystery of suffering in the presence of a good God is called theodicy. None of us can claim to understand the fullness of the answer except that God glorifies himself in the midst of suffering and trials.

If there were no fall, there would be no Christ and if there were no Christ, than Christ would not be glorified and man would not know that he is dependent upon Almighty God. And so the nature of God includes his sovereignty. Yet it also includes something else: his love.

For in the fullness of time, says St. Paul, God sent forth his son. This is familial language. It speaks of the nature of God is a triune God. God is one and yet God exists eternally in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “In the fullness of time” God the Father sent forth his only begotten Son. Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God, proceeding from the Father, having left the royal robes of heaven, to assume human flesh and to live as we live and yet without sin. All of this speaks of the love of God. When one leaves where one exists, particularly when that existence is perfection and absolute splendor in a holiness that we cannot even imagine, and comes to his own creation to be subjected to that creation that is a love that is out of this world. Yet when that creation rebelled against the Creator, the Creator died for the sinful rebel. He also fulfilled the very covenant that He ordained in man’s place by dying for that creature on the cross. That is an incomprehensible love.

The sovereignty of God and the love of God brings wonder. It is a wonder that transcends all other wonders. It is the wonder of this very statement — and I challenge you to be very careful as you consider it — God made you and God knows you and God knows your story and God loves you. His love has been demonstrated in that he sent his Son to you, to be born in a feed trough of the Virgin Mary—supernaturally; and to be adopted by a carpenter, to be reared in anonymity in Nazareth—very normal, indeed—, and to be anointed the priest — a high priest — which would fulfill all of the covenant requirements of God on your behalf so that you could be freed from sin; in other words, redeemed—how very glorious. Now this is the nature of God. And I would challenge anyone to tell me of anything more magnificent and marvelous than this essential and self -revealed nature of God. If you do not love him, if you cannot love him because you do not know him, then today is the day and now is the time. “When the fullness of time has come” can be a description of your time right now. It can be a description of how you have come to know not only the narrative of Christmas but also the nature of the God of Christmas.