Lest we forget, we are presently in the Octave of Christmas which affords chances to contemplate more deeply the Incarnation of the Son of God born of the Virgin Mary in the fullness of time. The notion of the fullness of time is given to us by St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.”
Time is a complicated phenomenon. All finite creatures are subjected and constrained by time. No one can escape the reality. Every child born begins his /her journey in time, some lives are shorter, some are longer, but no one is immune to the end result of time—the cessation of earthly life. The horrible result of sin entering into the world in the beginning affected everything that was, and would ever be. Nothing was spared, and time became creation’s worst enemy.
In the fullness of time (or at the right time), God who is outside of time, ever living and immortal, willed that his beloved creatures should not be forever lost to the ravages of time. On the contrary, he sent his Son, Jesus Christ to be born into history, a history which was a morass of sin and death. Jesus too, was subjected and constrained by time itself. As God/man, he would grow and mature from a boy to a man and he too would suffer the result of time by giving up his life in ransom for ours.
The birth of Jesus in time is a profound moment where God willingly transformed the reality of time by entering it with all its destructive power by the birth of his Son. He transformed it by connecting the infinite with the finite in the person of Jesus Christ. His birth was a birth into the environment of hopelessness changed only by divine grace personified in the person of Jesus. No longer was time only a finite phenomenon but now it is coupled with infinity. God transformed the sentence of death into a reality where life can now grow and flourish without the overriding fear of extinction.
Because of the birth of Jesus in time and space, Christians have a sure knowledge and hope that our finite time on earth is not our only reality. If that was the case, then the Incarnation of Jesus means nothing. Rather, the birth of Jesus reassures us that time on earth does not end in death even though our earthly bodies will die. The Incarnation proves that the reality of death has been redefined, from a point of view of complete nonexistence to a transitory reality which is a condition of immortal life.
Hence, the notion of time for a Christian need not be an enemy, but an opportunity to grow and mature into the creatures God had always willed. Every day we grow in knowledge and the certainty of our adoption. As children of God, we know we must be obedient to time for a while, but not forever. Life has on earth has changed because of the Incarnation, and time is no longer a fragmented reality resulting in ultimate death but now a condition of life. Because of the Incarnation, there is a continuity between time on earth and eternal life, an unbroken chain of our existence.
If you believe in the continuum of earthly life moving into heavenly life, then you become acutely aware the time on earth we spend is not as a burden, but an opportunity to truly live in God right here, right now. Every moment we spend on earth offers an opportunity to live and model what it means to be people who have a destiny not of the grave, but of eternity itself.
The Incarnation of Jesus in time and space two thousand years ago had a huge impact on the world. The Incarnation of Jesus continues to have a huge impact on the adopted sons and daughters of God, our ultimate desire for life eternal has become the new reality.