Today, I’m picking up where we left off a few weeks ago when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. While, we usually only look at the birth of Jesus at Christmas, there are three things we can carry with us throughout the year.
#1: God’s promise to Simeon
Just eight days after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph took their son to the Temple for circumcision. Forty days after He was born, they returned to the Temple where Mary was purified and Jesus was presented to the Lord. A sacrifice was to be made of two pigeons or two turtledoves. In the Temple there was a man named Simeon. Most scholars believe Simeon was an older man and may have been the priest on duty at the Temple. The Bible shows us that Simeon was a devout, faithful man who believed God would send His Messiah, the Christ into the world. He had been looking and praying for years and the Holy Spirit had promised Simeon, “You will not die before you see the Christ.” When Mary and Joseph presented the child to him on that day in the Temple, the Holy Spirit spoke to Simeon; his eyes were opened and he looked at the baby, saying, “Now I can depart in peace for my eyes have seen the salvation of your people.” Jesus was an expression of God’s love that created an assurance of hope for Simeon and for us today. It is the hope that all of us have in Jesus that comes to us even after all of the Christmas decorations have long been packed away.
#2: Peace in the present moment
Second, if you believe there’s hope for the future, you can live in the moment with a sense of peace and joy. It’s not as if you’re waiting for that magical moment in the future to finally be happy and know joy, but the hope you have for the future brings you peace and joy in the present moment! When you find yourself feeling like there’s no hope for the future and nothing to look forward to, each day is filled with a sense of sadness and despair. Simeon believed he would see the Christ before he died, but it didn’t mean he was waiting to see the Christ before he could know joy. We believe Simeon knew joy, peace and a sense of hope for all those years of waiting.
#3: It’s not all about me
Third, Simeon was hoping to see the Christ Child for himself, but he was also anxious to share this hope with all of Israel. It is important for us to have fellowship with other believers and to study our Bibles and grow in faith, but another incredibly important part of following Christ is to look beyond the walls of the church to go out and share God’s love with others. We do this when we invite people to church, share an encouraging word, perform an act of service, pray for others and most importantly, when we share the hope of Jesus with everyone we know, so that they, too can experience this hope.