Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 1

Father in heaven, creator of all, You ordered the earth to bring forth life and crowned its goodness by creating the family of men. In history’s moment when all was ready, You sent Your Son to dwell in time, obedient to the laws of life in our world. Teach us the sanctity of human love, show us the value of human life, and help us to live in peace with all men that we may share in Your life for ever. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

This is the last Sunday service in this church for the year of our Lord – 2009. We will close out the old year. How apprehensive are we as we contemplate what the New Year might bring? In our Gospel lesson for today Simeon and Anna are very old and desire to depart this life and remain in glory with their Lord. As we have come into a new relationship with Jesus Christ we, like Anna and Simeon of old can face the future no matter what might come our way in the New Year.

Christmas is a time for secrets: the secret of what we are giving each other. A mother admonished her child, “Now, don’t tell Daddy what we bought him for Christmas!” One sees a strange package in the house, and a spouse asks, “What’s in the package? The other replies: “That’s a secret. Don’t open it!”

But now Christmas has come, the secrets are out to the joy of everyone. Christmas is clothed with mystery – what is the meaning of the virgin birth, the star in the East, an angel’s message to shepherds, a choir of angels singing in the night? Now is the time to see what it is all about. Simeon and Anna in their final years see the secret that explains all in a child less than six weeks old being carried into the temple for dedication to God. Simeon and Anna serve as models for us today to understand the true meaning of Christmas – go gain the secret of Christmas, we, like Simeon and Anna must.

1. Be looking for the Savior – Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him Vs. 25
A. Simeon and others had been waiting for the consolation of Israel.
1. They were waiting for that time when God would come to redeem and save His people.
2. When the Messiah was to come He would take their burdens and cares joys and sorrows to Himself.
B. Jesus is this hope and consolation so long hoped for.
1. But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. - Isaiah 40:31
2. Then you will know that I am the LORD. Those who hope in me will not be disappointed. Isaiah 49:23

Transition: Simeon was looking for the Lord. At just the right time and place the Lord’s will was reviewed to him.

2. Be in the right place – Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required Vs.27
A. Simeon entered the temple at the Spirit’s prompting.
1. This was no mere coincidence. It was God directed.
2. Recall those moments in your life and in our life together here within our Friedheim family in which the Lord acted at just the right moment. We were at the right place and at the right time because God was moving among His people. May He continue to shape and mold our lives in the New Year.
B. Joseph and Mary were doing what the Law required for them to do.
1. Although He was the eternal son of God Jesus was at the same time human.
2. Here we find the Father’s perfect substitute for you. Jesus will willingly fulfill every requirement the Law demands. Every detail will be followed. Even at eight days of age Jesus is beginning to “fulfill all righteousness” for you.

Transition: Aged Simeon was waiting for the Savior, He was at the right place and receptive to the Lord’s prompting.

3. Be spiritually receptive – It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ Vv. 26
A. God had given Him a wonderful promise.
1. He would see the Lord’s Christ before He died.
2. We too by faith have had numerous encounters with Jesus and will continue in the next New Year.
a. In the waters of Baptism
b. In His meal
c. In His declaration of forgiveness
d. Whenever His Word is put to use. When it is read, shared, taught, proclaimed.
B. Simeon knew that God could be trusted at His word.
1. God has bound Himself to His Word. This is where His promises are found.
2. Count on them. Trust them. Be strengthened and assured by them.

Transition: Simeon’s life and faith is a model for our living today.

4. Be guided by the Spirit – Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. Vs.27
A. He was a man of faith.
1. Faith is nothing more then trusting God
2. Trusting God is nothing more then taking Him at His Word.
B. This must be our manner of living.
1. To trust the Father’s will to be just and right.
2. To cling to His promises and to rely on His grace.

It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So, how long did Simeon live until the Lord called Him? Did he pass from grace to glory that night? Scripture doesn’t tell us. It doesn’t really matter. Having seen the Lord’s Christ his life was fulfilled. He was ready – to be received for His life was complete. Is your life complete or is there still some unfinished business? If we model Simeon of old we can depart from this life knowing ours has been a life well lived – lived not by our own agendas plans and schemes but according to the Father’s will. May He continue to shape our life as He orders our days and directs out path.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use

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