And the time came …
We go through four seasons each year. But each year, we experience each season as if it were the first. At least, that is the way I experience it. Winter Season fascinates me the most because of the long preparation for it in the fall. After Labor Day, we begin to notice changes in the trees. First, the trees gradually change in beautiful colors, then dry off and fall away. Trees with thick leaves gradually surrender their majestic look to the new season and become stripped completely bare by the middle of November! Though I have witnessed these changes for the ten years I have been here in the US, they still fascinate me each year. Sometimes I drive around to see the trees with no leaves. Then you can see through a long line of trees without any obstruction. So amazing.
I think of the long 9months it takes for a baby to grow in the womb and be born. And after birth, it takes long years for him to grow into a mature adult. So much time is spent preparing for a new phase in life. It’s just the way it is. We can hurry as much as we can, but in the end, we are forced to learn to wait patiently for real life.
Come to think of it: how many years had passed before Jesus came? I’ll leave off any attempt at calculating from the time of Adam. Rather, let us begin with the time of Abraham because it is a verifiable historical account. Scholars agree that Abraham died in 1,771 BC, and Jesus was born in 4 BC. So, there were 1,767 years between the death of Abraham to the birth of Jesus. That is 18 centuries. We should even go back to the time God called Abraham. Then we are talking an additional 100 years because Abraham was 75 years when God called him (Gen. 12:4) and 175 years when he died (Gen. 25:7). So, there were 1,867 years from the call of Abraham to the birth of Jesus. A span of 19 centuries.
Why would it take God so long to do this? No one has an answer to this question. It took God all these centuries to prepare, train, teach, and nurture humanity for this event that would shake the foundation of the cosmos. And then the time came, at the right time, in God’s eyes, for Jesus to be born, as Divine Love shining in the human heart to reclaim us back to God, our Father.
The story of the visit of Angel Gabriel to Mary, Mary’s pregnancy and Joseph’s shock and fears, the visit of another angel to Joseph in a dream, etc., are all wrapped in mystery. I am so awed by these stories that I ask myself: what do you know? And the answer is simply nothing. It may seem very long for God to act, but it is the right time. And the time came! It is the right time, in God’s design, that matters. Waiting for that time in all we do is the fundamental characteristic of FAITH. It is faith in the unfathomable love of God that He will always act on our behalf at the time he knows is right.
May we learn from this season to wait on God, who loves us so much that he will always intervene when the right time comes. Amen
~Fr. Cornelius Okeke