Hey, hope you all had a blessed Christmas. I did and was so grateful to spend it with folks. You know, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus but there is an interesting happening that happens after the birth of Jesus but which is so important to look at.
The story begins in the Temple in Jerusalem. Mary and Jeseph, as are many other pilgrims, have come to that locale to worship. It is in this Temple that the Holy of Holies, where the Spirit of God is, that these people believed their prayers had more power and they could offer sacrifices.
There was a very old man there named Simeon who went there quite often. He was a very devout man. And he was a man whom God had told that before He died, he would see the long promised Messiah. Imagine the skepticism many would have of the devout old man's claim. For years this went on, many thinking Sineon was delusional. But on this day that Mary and Joseph and the infant were going to the Temple, the Lord had stirred Simeon. He needed to go too because he knew this was the day.
Many were there for many, as required, were there to dedicate their babies to God. But Simeon knew there was one special child and makes his way to Mary and Joseph with the Holy Spirit guiding him. And it is Joseph that hands Jesus to the old man when asked. Simeon is now fulfilling God's promise to him. He is seeing Messiah, God's Son.
He says as is recorded in Luke 2:29-32, this, "Sovereign Lord, now let your servant depart in peace as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel."
Simeon is moved beyond description, as are Mary and Joseph. He hands the babe gently back to them and then grows somber as he speaks softly to Mary that the Child would be beloved and yet rejected.
But someone else entered the scene. An 84 year old woman, a widow, named Anna. She is considered by many as a prophetess. Whereas Simeon is there often, Anna never leaves. She loves God and as she sees the baby and Mary and Joseph, she starts worshipping God. She makes it very clear that Messiah, our Redeemer, has come.
Two old faithful and devout people have validated through the Holy Spirit, that this child is like no other, that His birth is unique, and that God has sent His Son. They see Him as the gift He is to all oeople.
This part of Luke 2 doesn't get the attention but it illustrates over the centuries, that which we know, that for all who behold Him whether it be Angels, shepherds, wise men, or two very common aged simple people, hope, excitement, and wonder follow. Jesus is for all people. He is as Isaiah said, Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
It is when we behold Him in our hearts and realize who He is and what He means, that we, no matter who we are, are fulfilled, excited.
We should believe in Him because He believes in us. He believed in us enough that He could set aside all His rights of divinity so that He could come to earth in the flesh.All He did and does is because He loves us.
Secondly, we should believe in Him and be excited about Him because He provides in us the only kind of life that makes sense, that fulfills us. And thirdly we need to believe in Him and be as excited as all who beheld Him because He lives today and because He wants to live within us.
All the shepherds, wise men, Simeon and Anna enjoyed beholding Him face to face but we have the privilege of even a closer relationship, for when He ascended to Heaven after the Resurrection, He sent The Holy Spirit to dwell in every born again believer. John 14:26.
And finally we need to be excited and believe because He forgives us our sins and promises us the glory of Heaven.
The Christmas Story is not just the greatest story ever but should for us be the most exciting. The excitement of all the principle players old and young, rich and poor in that great story should be what we feel, what every Christian should feel and every non Christian should want to.
As we move toward a New Year filled with so much uncertainty in our world, there is One, One who provides us with hope joy, and peace. I cannot imagine going into a day, let alone a year, without Him. My advice to you is ...don't. Keep the light of that first Christmas burning in your heart and you will never walk in darkness.