Summary: The cold air keeps us all indoors - unable to take a walk or enjoy the fresh air. Each holiday reminds us of lost loved ones... of blessings that seem to have become curses... that haunt instead of hope.
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year for most, but for some it ends up being a sad and stressful season. Many are without friends, family, or money searching for joy. Long nights and shorter days seem to loom over spirits like a dark blanket. The cold air keeps us all indoors - unable to take a walk or enjoy the fresh air. Each holiday reminds us of lost loved ones... of blessings that seem to have become curses... that haunt instead of hope.
What this world needs are some blessings - embedded in each family, each church, each school, each neighborhood, and each factory. These 'bless-ers' are people who will bless others. You see, it's far too easy to get turned around and want to be blessed. If we're not careful, we'll get into the 'takers' mentality and the season of giving will become the season of 'gimme!' The first question you should ask is: "What do I have to offer? What can I give? Does anybody really need / want what I have?"
Our two examples are found in Luke 2:25-38. These two are often left out of the Christmas story. You'll never see them in a Nativity collection. You probably won't even see them in a church Christmas program. After the angels, the shepherds, and the manger... eight days later. Jesus was about to be circumcised and officially named; His parents had brought a sacrifice of two pigeons as their offering. While at the temple, they met these two special people: Simeon & Anna.
Simeon - though near the end of his life, He lived for only one thing: to see Jesus. His relationship with the Spirit of God was so personal, he believed that God had promised this event to him! (Luke 2:25-30)
Anna - having lived most of her 100+ years as a widow (only married for 7 yrs, widowed for 84 yrs), she was now devoted to a new groom. She showed her love by serving and worshiping God night and day. (Luke 2:36-38)
Bless the Lord
Both Simeon & Anna are noted as ministering to the Lord in the temple (Lk 2:28,38). Their focus was individually unique, yet unified. When Simeon saw the baby, he picked him up and blessed God; and the very instant that Anna saw Jesus, she gave thanks. Do you bless the Lord? To bless God means to thank, to praise, to adore, to remember, to magnify, and to worship Him. David was overwhelmed with God's mercy and blessed the Lord (Ps. 103). At Christ's ascension, He blessed them and they returned to the city blessing God (Lk. 24:50-53). Your first look should always be up. Bless Him with your singing, your praise, your memories of forgiveness, of miracles, and of blessings.
Bless God's People
Joseph and Mary had come to dedicate the child in obedience to the Old Testament law (Lk 2:34). They were dedicating themselves to Biblical parenting. They had not come to receive a blessing - just to obey. But Simeon and Anna blessed them. Joseph and Mary were blessed because they were in the right place with the right people. They were blessed through the encouraging words (of Simeon). They were blessed because of the faith of these two gifted, faithful folks. When you trust God and bless God - it will, in turn, bless others - especially God's people! Never underestimate the power of encouragement: a word of compliment, a word of confidence, a word of kindness.
Bless the World
These events weren't private experiences (they are recorded in Luke 2:32,38). This was only the small end of something very big - this whole thing was expanding rapidly - and they had a part in it! Anna couldn't keep the secret (who would want to). She told everyone that the Redeemer had come... all the other young couples who brought their children in to be dedicated, all the humbled sinners needing released from their sins, all the Pharisees expecting a Messiah to deliver them. The Light of the world now had two more flames of witness. If you have been lit by His light (Matt. 5:14), never let your flame go out! Who do you tell about Him? Don't be outdone by a couple of retirees on their last leg!