If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. Mark 13, verse 20.
Jesus wants everyone to be saved. It doesn’t matter whether you believe or disbelieve, whether you are a Christian or some other religion, or what is the color of your skin: Jesus wants a one-on-one relationship with you now, on this Earth, so that He will have one with you forever.
So Christmas was only a few days ago; ditto New Year’s Eve. Not long ago I read about how Christmas was ordained to be on December 25th and, contrary to popular myth, it wasn’t an attempt to confiscate an existing pagan holiday. It was by deliberate action of early church leaders corresponding to a popular notion of the time. December 25th was determined because it corresponds to 9 full months from the date of Christ’s crucifixion. This is because of a belief, held in the early church that prophets and priests died on the day they were conceived. Do the math and, based on the Jewish calendar, that corresponds to December 25th. The more you dive into trying to learn just why people commemorate events on certain days, the more you become aware of a crucial thing.
It doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter whether Christmas corresponds to Saturnalia or a tradition concerning the birth dates of prophets. It doesn’t matter whether Easter would be a fixed date on the calendar or whether it floats around based on the first full paschal moon in a lunar cycle.
It doesn’t matter. Repeat that phrase until it sinks in.
It doesn’t matter because the only thing about the calendar that matters is how Jesus uses it to convince us to be ready today, now, for His return. Indeed, time is given for us, not for Him. He is eternal, existing both in and out of what we understand as time. Jesus doesn’t need a calendar. When God the Father deems that He will return, He will return no matter what the Julian calendar says. Until then, God will use the calendar to continue to point us toward our undeniable, imminent need for His redemption. He will allow sin and evil to influence and act upon us so that we might reject them and come to rely fully on Him for all things. Jesus knows the consequences of sin and how it seeks to destroy. Today’s verse reminds us that, through His use of time, Jesus will display mercy by intervening at just the right time. Specifically, the verse is talking about the end of all things, but if you extrapolate from that, you see that the verse applies to all times, all days, every moment. Jesus intervenes in our lives now so that we might know Him better.
That means at Christmas time. Or New Years, Easter, Saturnalia, the spring solstice or the day before your next daughter’s wedding. Jesus wants us to come to Him right now in praise, love, thanksgiving, and mercy so that He might work through us to reach others. The date on a calendar is simply just one way He does so.
Lord, thank You for ordaining the days of my life at just the right time, for always being present, for time as a tool to better know and glorify You.
Read Mark 13, verses 1-31.