Sunday, December 24th, 2017: “Have a Brilliant Christmas!” • Pastor David R. Stokes
About six weeks after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph went to the Temple in Jerusalem to “present him to the Lord,” as was the custom. It was a time of parental dedication. This routine, yet profound event was interrupted by a man named Simeon.
Can you imagine an old man coming up to you and asking to hold your new-born baby? That’s what he did. He was sent by God. He was a godly man and had been waiting for “the promised one.” And God gave him a gift—he was supernaturally informed that he would not die before seeing the real Messiah.
So, the spirit of God moved him and he approached Mary and Joseph. Mary was very intuitive—this we know from so many scriptures—so she let the old man hold the baby. Simeon used the moment to worship God. Here is what he prayed:
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die 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 had a few more things to say to Mary. Things about Jesus. Some of them pretty hard to hear and bear for the new mother. He told her that one day her heart would be broken because of the baby she was holding.
We celebrate Christmas as a time of joy, a time when the earth heard great news! But it was just the beginning of a long story. One filled with mountains and valleys. Even suffering.
Some Christians—in fact, many of us—have “mixed feelings” about Christmas. Yes, there’s incredible joy, but also, so many have suffered loss that seems to much more painful this time of year. May we never forget that—or them.
Have I experience loss that seems more painful around Christmas?
How do I deal with that—reconciling grief to the joyful story of Christmas?
- Have I reached out to someone who is hurting this year?