Did you hear about the multiple thefts of Baby Jesus figures from church nativities in Ohio, Florida, and even Arkansas. The controversies surrounding nativities led to thefts in 2007 and this year many of the churches have installed GPS locators into the Baby Jesus to track them in the event that they are stolen. I am told that in Arkansas they even chained the Baby Jesus to a cinder block.
In Florida, the perp was caught and arrested and the Baby Jesus was returned to his ceramic family. And they will soon be put away into storage until next year.
Alas, Christmas is over. All the decorations, the lights, the nativities, and the 75% off signs will be put away soon. We will quite soon occupy our attention and our energy with other things because Christmas is over.
In the gospels, however, the birth of Christ is just the beginning. The proclamation of the birth, the dreams of Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, and the rage of Herod are just the start. Theres more to come. The child Jesus is growing and Joseph and Mary have much to do. Luke 2 describes an important event in the life of Jesus and his family. They are following the religious mandates by taking the six-week old Jesus to the temple for dedication and they are also arranging for the religious purification of the mother, Mary ...
Read Luke 2:22-38 ...
Joseph and Mary are going about their business offering up the sacrifice required, or in their case what was allowed for the poor a lamb would have been offered, but two pigeons were allowed for those who couldnt afford it. So here they are going about their business, when an old man comes up to them asking to hold their child.
His name is Simeon and he has been waiting to see the Messiah with his own two eyes. Hes seen a lot through those eyes:
Hes waiting for a ray of light to pierce the darkness hes seen with his eyes. The Holy Spirit promised him that this moment would come. All the years of waiting and praying, the recommitment to believe the Spirits promise all pays off in this one simple moment he has seen with his own eyes the salvation of Israel. He holds salvation in his hands. Now Simeon is at peace. His wait is over.
Simeon has spiritual insight. Chalk it up to the power of the Holy Spirit and years of waiting to see what God has promised. Though he is old, Simeons spiritual vision is keen and sharp.
He knows that though he has waited for years to see the Lords savior and receives this as a blessing, he knows that some will not be so receptive. And so his blessing for Mary and the child speaks of the grand destiny of the child Jesus yes, Jesus represents hope and salvation, but that which makes Jesus a hope for many also threatens others.
This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealedand a sword will pierce your own soul too.
Simeons blessing has a shadow in it. Some will fall and some will rise. Some will accept the sign and others will speak out against it. Why? Because the inner thoughts and motives of all will be revealed ...
If youve just had enough darkness and are looking to see a ray of light; if you want peace in your heart thus having no fear of death or darkness, then you are Simeon. You are Anna. Dont get angry or frustrated, get to praying, start praising! Ask God to open you eyes to see and open your ears to hear.
Since the time of Simeon and Anna, Christ has promised that he will return again. Wouldnt it be great to see that before you die? We could see Gods work of salvation among us.
Can we wait as faithfully as Simeon and Anna to see God working his salvation in this world?
Can we be confident and not grow anxious when shadows are cast and when some reject the light?
Can we have the spiritual vision of Gods Holy Spirit so that we can see that Gods old promises may be kept in unexpected ways?
Keep watch! Keep praying! You will see the Light of the World shine forth ever brighter in your lifetime!
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