Christmas Times: When the Future Becomes the ‘Present’
By Ed Delph
December 11, 2017
One evening before Mary Martin, the great Broadway musical star, was to go on stage in South Pacific, a note was handed to her. It was from Oscar Hammerstein. He had written it to her from his deathbed: “Dear Mary, a bell’s not a bell till you ring it. A song’s not a song until you sing it. Love in your heart is not put there to stay. Love isn’t love until you give it away.”
After the performance many people rushed backstage, exclaiming, “Mary, what happened to you here tonight? We have never heard anything like that performance! You sang with more power than you’ve ever sung!” Blinking back tears, Mary read them the note from Hammerstein and added, “Tonight, I gave my love away!”
Love is the one gift that always fits and is always appropriate. Christmas is about God giving His love away. But think about it, just one day before Christ was born, the ‘present’ was still in the future. On Christmas day, the present in the future became God’s ‘present’ in the present. History and prophecy intersected. Revelation became reality. There was a time gap between God’s plan unfolding and God’s plan unfolded.
Someone noted the Bible is a book of prayers. Out of the 667 recorded prayers there are 454 recorded answers. Each one of those prayers started unanswered until God answered them.
There are two words for time in the Greek. One of the words is Kronos. Kronos signifies chronological or sequential time…seconds, hours, days, years, etc. The other word for time is the word Kairos. Kairos signifies the “right,” “opportune,” or “supreme” moment. Kairos is the predetermined time - the right, supreme, or opportune moment for something to occur. All those unanswered prayers were prisoners of Kronos until the right moment for the requests to be answered.
Such was the case over two thousand years ago in the birth of Christ. Mary, Joseph, and the Jews were waiting for the Kronos to turn in the Kairos. They were prisoners of Kronos. Perhaps you're thinking, ‘Prisoners, that’s a pretty hard word.’ Think of it. They were prisoners of sequential time waiting for the birth of Christ to happen. The Romans thought they were crazy to believe in myths. But, when God’s ‘Present’ became the present on Christmas, the Romans were ‘myth-taken,’ ‘myth-er-able,’ and ‘myth-i-fied.’
Consider two prophetic promises to God’s people fulfilled Biblically on Christmas. Mary, Joseph, and the Jews would have known these prophesies. The first verse is, “Therefore, the Lord will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name, 'Immanuel,' which translated means ‘God with us.’” Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23. Isaiah prophesied the sign of a virgin birth 750 years before Christ’s birth.
The second promise is, “And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; For out of you shall come first a Ruler, who will shepherd My people Israel.” Micah 5:2. Micah, about the same time as Isaiah, prophesied Christ would be born in Bethlehem.
Seven hundred and fifty years is a long time to wait. That’s tough on us Kronos types. The Apostle Paul summarizes the concept, “But, in the fullness of time, God sent forth a Son, born of a woman…” Galatians 4:4. Notice the fullness of time. Seven hundred and fifty years after God foretold what would happen, the future turned into the Present…A Christmas Present with a Christmas presence.
Before Christ came, Mary, Joseph, and the others in Bethlehem, were like Mary Martin, just singing the song, performing for the audience. But after Mary Martin received the note from Hammerstein, she really sang it like there was no tomorrow. There’s a difference, isn’t there?
Perhaps you have been waiting for a prayer to be answered, a promise to be fulfilled, or a prophesy to happen. Maybe Kronos is on the way to becoming Kairos for you. Perhaps the delay is not a denial. Maybe like Mary, your trial will turn into a smile in a while. More next week!
Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com