Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Hail To The Lord's Anointed"1 (Lyrics)
Galatians 4:4 – But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law. (ESV)
Luke 1:5,8,9 – In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. (NIV)
Luke 1:26-27 – In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. (NIV 2011)
Last fall, my husband and I joined a Messianic fellowship at one of the members' homes to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as Sukkoth. In their backyard, we sat in booths which were constructed according to God's Word. Then everyone took turns reading from the Old Testament. After the meal, we sang "Away in a manger" and other Christmas carols. Singing these songs in September was unusual, but it reminded me that Jesus was probably not born on the traditional date.
Many scholars speculate that our Lord was born on Sukkoth; remarkably, the word is also translated "stable", such as the humble estate where Christ may have been born. But is there any evidence to support this theory? Zechariah's priestly division of Abijah served in mid-June. If Elizabeth conceived shortly after Gabriel's announcement to Zechariah, her sixth month, when Gabriel appeared to Mary, would be in December. If this notion is correct, then it's reasonable to assume that Jesus was conceived during the festival of lights, or Hanukkah — around the time that we celebrate Christmas, and Jesus would have been born in September.
What amazing food for thought! These events illustrate the meticulous details that God had planned in the coming of His Son into the world. It also reminds us that His timing is always perfect. Therefore, it is comforting to know that in the fullness of time, God will intervene both in the world at large as well as in the challenges that we face in our personal lives. In the meantime, let us live each day to glorify Him.
Prayer: Sovereign Lord, we thank You that Your timing is always perfect. Open our eyes that we may contemplate wondrous things out of Your law. May we wait patiently upon You with hope and expectation for the future. In Jesus' precious name, we pray. Amen.