But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.

(Galatians 4:4, ESV)


Outfitted with secondhand furnishings, giveaways, and wedding gifts, our first apartment wasn’t much. What little money we had went to pay the rent on a place that overlooked its share of knife-fights, marital spats, and thefts—none of which we were involved in, thankfully. Laura and I planned for a lean but joyful first Christmas together.

But Laura took those plans and added one of her own. Many months in advance of December, Laura started skimming Lincolns and Hamiltons off the top of her tips, secretly saving a small portion of her earnings in order to surprise me with a nice watch. When the time came for us to exchange gifts, lights twinkling on our Charlie Brown tree, I stood rooted to the spot in shock while she beamed with excitement.

That moment of glittering stillness on our first Christmas as a married couple brings to mind the first Christmas. Just like Laura planned for our Christmas celebration, the Father planned for the Son’s coming into the world. Moments after the Fall, the Lord promised deliverance (Genesis 3:15). People from then on looked for this son of Eve. But only at just the right moment did the Father send the beautiful gift of His Son to humanity. Galatians 4:4 uses the phrase “when the fullness of time had come,” showing us that God chose a particular moment in history to advance His redemptive work in the world.

When we celebrate Christmas, we should do so with the knowledge that we have a Father who shows His love to us in His attentiveness to our need for salvation and renewal. When we recall the glittering stillness of that first Christmas night—stunned shepherds surrounded by God’s shining glory—we see in it the culmination of God’s care for His creation. But the Savior’s birth also should point our eyes forward, helping us to trust in the Lord’s deliberate “devisings” to finally make all things new.