|Ramapo Reformed Church
100 Island Road
Mahwah, NJ. 07430
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem
those who were under the law, so that we might receive
adoption as children. – Galatians 4:4-5
In working on a home improvement project that began over the summer, I realized that “things” can often take longer than
expected. Sometimes this occurs because the scope and difficulty of the project changes after you have already begun.
At other times, unforeseen events occur that divert or stall the project so as to delay its completion. And of course, there
are simply times when we are mistaken or wrong about what needs to be done and it takes time to work around it. These
factors can affect professional craftspeople, experts, and amateurs alike. Nevertheless and thankfully with this project, it
is completed just in time for the rush of the holiday season.
In part because of this, it caused me to realize how the dynamic of delayed completion is very much a part of this time of
year in both practical and theological ways. For example, when we sing, “Come thou long expected Jesus,” it is an
indication of the fact that the people of God were waiting for the Messiah for a very long time and for a considerably
longer time than they had anticipated or hoped. Of course this feeling is not strange to us, because growing up as
children, we too could hardly wait for Christmas to finally arrive. It is just that in this aspect and in our lives in general,
God does not always follow a schedule that we might anticipate or prefer. Yet as we joyfully celebrate each year,
Messiah did come and better yet, this Messiah fulfilled his purpose to reconcile us with God through the events we
celebrate at Easter. Further and even though this, too, is taking way longer than we might have expected, Jesus has
promised to return one day to complete the task of fixing a world that has been broken beyond repair by human sin. Yet
we know that just like many home improvement projects, the events of Christmas, and the surprise of Easter, the
fulfillment of this divine promise of Jesus’ return will also occur, just as certainly as the sun will rise tomorrow. We just do
not know when that will be.
But until then, we are to remain faithful people of God, celebrating God’s gift to all in the form of a small child, born long
ago in a tiny town called Bethlehem. May we relish the anticipation that is part and parcel of the Advent season and know
that the joy we shall experience this year is but a foretaste of a greater joy yet to come. With this in mind, enclosed
please find an Advent schedule for this year in the life of the Ramapo Reformed Church. Please join us as you are able
as we seek to welcome Jesus in our times of worship and fellowship, and may God’s assurance of fulfilled promises bless
each of your hearts and homes this Advent and Christmas season.