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In the Year of Our Lord

4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. Galatians 4:4-7

It happened when the fullness of time had come – in the seven hundred and fifty second year from the founding of Rome, in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad, and the forty second year of the reign of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus.  It happened in the fullness of time that God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, and history suddenly turned on its axis. 

The ancient world had reckoned time from the founding of the city of Rome, as well as the first Olympic game, and the first year of the Roman Emperor’s reign.  But with Christ’s Advent, the world could no longer look at time as they were accustomed.  With Christ’s coming they were compelled to think of history as time before Christ came (B. C.) and time after Christ came (A. D., anno donini, “the year of our Lord”). 

While this year store clerks and circuit court judges may wrestle with the appropriateness of saying “Merry Christmas”,  the reality is that every calendar, postmark, and newspaper declares that we are living in “the year of our Lord.”  Every time we date a check or a letter we are proclaiming the centrality of Christ’s birth.   His intervention into time parts history.  The whole wide world, both east and west, daily acknowledge his birth as the turning point in time. 

Perhaps more remarkable than this, are millions of people who think of their own lives as B. C., and A. D. —  or life before Christ entered in, and life ever since.  We speak of the real difference Christ makes for us, our marriages, our homes, careers, and communities.    Every day we experience the promise of Scripture: If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (II Corinthians 5:17).  We revel in the angel’s announcement to shepherds on that first Christmas night:  “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all people” Luke 2:10).

In a Christmas sermon of long ago, Martin Luther spoke something important for all to ponder this season: 

Of what benefit would it be to me if Christ had been born a thousand times, and it would daily be sung into my ears in a most lovely manner, if I were never to hear that he was born for me and was to be my very own?

In the Year of Our Lord,

Tim Smith

  • For the Water from Rock daily Advent reflections see website, WaterfromRock.org, “Advent Devotionals” .
  • Add to your Advent celebration by joining us Tuesday, December 1, 8, 15, at 7:00 P.M., at the Franciscan Renewal Center for “The Gospel According to Handel’s Messiah.”

Awe-inspiring and sublime, Handel’s majestic Messiah has thrilled listeners for more than 250 years.  In these Tuesday classes we will delve into Messiah’s text that is taken from the literal words of scripture and discover the historical and biblical background of the texts that inspired the music.  This will surely add to your joy and this Advent!


  • Weekly Bible Class:  “In the Fullness of Time” 

Every Tuesday, 11:00 a.m., at the Franciscan Renewal Center


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