The Wait is Over Now What?

Luke 2:25-40

December 27th-28th, 2008



            Even 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.

            Sometimes 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.        

                  Simeon 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.