Isn’t it amazing how much faster time moves when you have responsibility? I remember as a kid, thinking that Christmas would never come. Time moved at the pace of thick maple syrup in my world when I was 10 years old. The Sears Christmas catalog would arrive in early October, and I felt like December 25 would NEVER get there. At times, I simply could not wait for Christmas day to come, so I would take matters into my own hands and secretly open a present while my mom was in the other room, just to see what was behind that paper and bow. After seeing what it was, I would try to wrap it back up in its original packaging and pretend to act surprised on the big day. Time simply moved too slow for me at that time. As a kid, I had no responsibility, just hope and desire . . . this caused time to move slow from my perspective.
Contrast that with my experience as an adult. As an adult, time seems to move at breakneck pace. From the time that the first Santa shows up in the holiday aisle at Wal Mart, I feel like I blink and it is January 15. Unlike my experience as a child, as an adult, the holiday season is filled with many projects to complete: cards to write, presents to buy, services to plan for, rooms to decorate, parties to attend, etc. This flury of activity causes time to move by so quickly from my perspective. Instead of just looking at the clock, I am working through many preparations for the big day.
Last night, we were having a family advent devotional and talking about how God had been planning for Jesus arrival for thousands of years before His birth. The first prophecy of Jesus’ coming was all the way back at the beginning of the book of Genesis, and God’s rescue plan for humanity was aiming at Christ throughout the Old Testament. As we were talking about this truth as a family, I thought about my experience of waiting for Christmas growing up. As a person with no responsibility, I thought time went slowly. When we think about Jesus’ first advent, we might think that God was slow about delivering on His promised Messiah, however when we think that way, we are thinking as someone who had no responsibility in the birth of Jesus. With child-like minds, humanity simply wanted their Messiah NOW. However, God, who took on the responsibility of sending His Son, was working throughout the Old Testament time to prepare humanity for the coming of Jesus. Time did not move slow to our Heavenly Father because He was working hard to make preparations for the big day.
God selected His people and gave them a moral code to teach them that He was holy. God created a sacrificial system to educate His people that the wages of sin was death. God gave His people a land to call their own as the first fruits of an inheritance that would transcend geo-political boundaries. God appointed King David on the throne of Israel to foreshadow Christ’s future rule on the earth. God preserved His people amidst great opposition on multiple occasions to show them that He would never leave them or forsake them. God spoke to prophets for centuries promising the coming of the Messiah, to encourage His people to take Him at His Word. In the thousands of years from Eden to Bethlehem, I believe time flew for our Heavenly Father . . . He was setting things right for the arrival of His Son.
Remember that as you encourage your kids to wait for Christmas this year (and as you see the days fly by between now and then). Your responsibility in preparing for the big day greatly impacts how you view time. As you work hard to get all the details done this season, may you remember all God has done to bring the Messiah to you.