The Wait is Over Now What?
now, after two or three days our houses are strewn with bags of wrapping paper,
toys and books scattered about. Parents
and children are still trying to
figure out how to get new toys together, and other toys are in the corner
waiting to be returned. For many it is a sigh of relief, all that hub
bub, for what glad its over. For others
there is still New Years, but soon it will be back to life as usual. Our lives continue, and so does the life of
Jesus found in the bible.
I picture the manger scene being a production portrait. The photographers and equipment leave, the Shepherds
now get back to it, hoping that their sheep haven’t scattered all about. The town continues to prepare for the
census. I wonder about the in between
events we don’t hear about. What was
Mary’s first night like with child? Did she have enough swaddling clothes? Would anyone stay with the animals while Joseph
went to register them? Did Joseph talk
to that inn keeper, and let him know about this baby? Could he say to the inn keeper,” listen it’s
time we get a regular room, after all this is the Savior of the world.” We
don’t hear any of this. Apparently God
didn’t see fit to show us these details.
Yet, he does want us to see Jesus connection to the temple, and his
being named. As a good Jewish family they had Jesus circumcised
eight days later, and it was then that he was “officially” given the name the
angel promised he would have. Only after thirty three days, Mary’s time of
‘official uncleanliness” could they
travel seven miles from Bethlehem to Jerusalem and carry on
the custom of presenting Jesus at the
temple. With Jesus they brought a
sacrifice, which for them was a couple of turtle doves (because they couldn’t
afford a lamb). And Jesus the first born
was consecrated in the temple. Yet more
was going on than meets the eye. A transition of how God would be mercifully
present for his people was now taking place.
Simeon and Anna were privy to it, and because of their confession we are
to. If you want to know God, see god, understand
his mercy, it would now be funneled through the life of this child. Whose first few chapters of earthly life were
now being carried out.
was an Old Testament Believer in the promised Messiah. He was saved the same way you and I are,
through this Jesus, and the words spoken about him. Simeon believed God’s almighty Word in
Isaiah 40:1 “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard
service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has
received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” He had been informed in a dream that this was
the Christ. He
found Jesus, and sang a song which in our circles you may be very familiar
with. “the Nunc Dimittis, which simply means “You
now dismiss”. Here you see the purpose
of his life, and the purpose of our lives.
Ultimately our life has real purpose when it is lived seeing, knowing, and believing that this child
is our Savior. He said now that I’ve
seen you, the fulfillment of what I’ve heard you can take me at any time. We
have many expectations in life be they family, job, education, but nothing can match
the fulfillment of having Jesus. It
makes sense that we sing this after having received the Lord’s gifts in his
divine Service. We can depart in peace,
carry on with our weeks activities, because our Savior has once again seen fit
to bring his Word to bear in our lives.
The presence of God was moving from the temple to Jesus, and because of
his gracious presence we can depart in peace.
Simeon then he pulls Mary aside, not to say
God’s Blessing to you on a fine year. I
hope for the best. But with the news
that I this child would be destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel. In John One it says the
light (Christ) shines in darkness but the darkness (the world) has not understood
it or comprehended it. Some would fall
because of this Jesus. Indeed in Luke
the next story after these child hood scenes has him sent into the desert. Following his temptation in the desert he
goes home, and frustrates many there to the point “They got up, drove him out of
the town and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built in
order to throw him off the cliff. Jesus
was accepted but many rejected him. Jesus
would bring to light many who would stumble and fall in his presence. Why?
To admit that we need Jesus, is to say that we have been wrong in our
life. Some have said the three hardest
words to say in life are “I am wrong”. Our
nature wants excuses, and when confronted with our faults we become defensive,
make excuses, or even comfort ourselves by saying that we are not as bad as
others. Any light that shines in darkness will get the scattering effect from
the creatures in that darkness. Jesus
was sent to expose us for who we are. With
that in mind we shouldn’t be surprised if we come up against rebellion in our
lives, or in the lives of others when confronted with Jesus. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:15-16, that “We are the aroma of Christ among those who
are being saved and of those who are perishing.
To the one the smell of death to the other the fragrance of life. Mary would herself “have her soul pierced”
when she saw her dear son die on Calvary’s cross, yet through this he would
also raise many up. The shepherds, Mary,
the prodigal son, the healed woman, the tax collector, the prostitutes, along
with you and I, and the list goes on and on.
Christmas day is over, yet Jesus ministry went on. He was rejected, and is stumbling block to
many, yet life in Jesus is much better than life outside of Jesus. Why?
In him we can see, hear, and believe the presence of a merciful
God. In him we can depart this place,
and eventually this life in peace. In
him, many will stumble, but many have been and will be raised up. What should we do now that the wait for
Christmas is over? Live by faith in Simeon’s dream fulfilling Savior. Amen.