There is a reason for the season
Christmas. Christmas is a time that is looked forward to by young and old. We wait for Christmas every year all year long. We wait for the gathering of family and friends. We wait for food in abundance. We wait for the exchange of gifts. But there was a time when people were waiting for something else. They were waiting for one particular something. Let’s explore that for a moment.
I’m going to briefly discuss two people who are briefly brought to light in the Christmas story. You won’t hear their names in Christmas songs or hymns and you won’t see any depictions of them on Christmas cards. I want to talk about a man named Simeon and a woman named Anna. Simeon and Anna are found in Luke 2:25-38.
Luke 2:25–38 (NASB95) The emphasis is mine.
25 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law,
28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 A Light of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him.
34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed—
35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,
37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.
38 At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Christmas is a time when we, as Christians, celebrate the birth of the Lord, Christ Jesus. However, it should also be mentioned that nowhere in Scripture does Jesus tell His Apostles, or anyone else, to remember His birth. It is His death, burial, and resurrection that He expected us to remember. Christmas, as we know it and celebrate it was established by the early church to offset a pagan holiday that occurred at this time of year. This information is not vitally important to this post but I thought that it was noteworthy.
There are three things that we can learn from Simeon and Anna.
First, we are to be filled with marvel at the works of Jesus. Verse 33 states that Joseph and Mary were amazed at what Simeon was saying about the infant, Jesus. I find myself in amazement and marvel every time I open the Bible and read about Jesus. I marvel at everything that He did. Does Jesus bring to you and sense of amazement and marvel?
Secondly, we should be movers. In verses 25 and 27 it says that the Holy Spirit was upon Simeon and in the Spirit he went to the temple. He did not know that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus would be at the temple that day. He had been told by the Spirit that he (Simeon) would not die before he had seen Christ. When the Holy Spirit tells us to move, we should get up and move.
Thirdly, we are to be messengers. Anna, in verse 38 continued speaking about Jesus to all who were looking for the redemption of the Messiah that was newly arrived.
The truly amazing thing about Simeon and Anna is that both were waiting for something. They were waiting for Christmas. They were waiting for the same thing from two different perspectives. Simeon was waiting for comfort. Verse 25 states that Simeon was waiting for the “consolation of Israel”. That means that Simeon was waiting for comfort. Anna was waiting for redemption. Verse 38 tells us that she spoke of Him to all who were “looking for the redemption of Israel.” Simeon and Anna were waiting for comfort and redemption from the same source.
What are you waiting for this Christmas?
There was once a rich man who had a son and their collective passion was collecting works of art of the world’s great painters. Their estate walls were adorned from artists like Rembrandt, Picasso, Van Gough, and even Da Vinci. Millions of dollars worth or art hung in glorious presentations throughout their dwelling. However; the nation soon broke out into war and the son went on his way to dutifully serve his country in the war effort at the beginning of the winter
Not long afterward the father received word that his son had perished in combat and that there were no remains to be sent home. The father slipped into deep depression and lost all interest in the art collection that only reminded him that the son would never be coming home.
On Christmas day there was a knock on the door. A young man stood on the massive front porch with a wrapped package in his arms. The young man told the father that he was an artist and that he had a gift for the father. The young man told the father that he was the person that the son had been rescuing when he met his untimely demise. When the paper was peeled away a painting was revealed that was a portrait of the son. While the work could not be deemed the work or artistic genius, the old man took down millions of dollars of art from over the fire place to place the portrait of the son. There, slumped in a chair, he stared at the portrait of the son for the remainder of Christmas and the days following.
A few months later the father died and the art world was excited about the expected auction of masterpiece artworks in the family’s collection. By the father’s instructions the auction was to take place on Christmas day in memory of the day that he received the painting of the son. The art world gathered at the estate and prepared for bidding.
The first work on the block was the portrait of the son. The crowd was enraged. They didn’t want the art of some unknown soldier. They demanded that the Rembrandt’s and Picasso’s be brought out for bidding. The auctioneer stated that the father’s instructions were very clear. This portrait was to be sold first. No one would bid even one hundred dollars. A neighbor finally bid ten dollars. “It’s all I have, “ he said, “but I knew the boy and I’d like to have it.”
“SOLD!” exclaimed the auctioneer. The gavel dropped and the crowd waited with great anticipation for the next item up for bid. Instead, however, the auctioneer began to gather up his papers and implements and announced that the auction was concluded.
The crowd was outraged. “HOW CAN THIS BE?” they charged. “There are millions of dollars of artwork left to bid on!” The auctioneer looked down with a steady gaze at the outraged gathering of buyers and cleared his throat. “The FATHER’s instructions are very clear.” He said. “Whoever gets the SON, gets it ALL!”
Do you have the SON this Christmas? More importantly, does the SON have you?
HE is the reason for the season. God Bless! Merry Christmas!
In His Grip,
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