Summary: A 10-15-minute Christmas Eve devotional

Christmas Expectation

A 10-15-minute Christmas Eve Devotional

Chuck Sligh

December 25, 2016

TEXT: Turn in your Bibles to Luke 2

Illus. – Do you remember the anticipation you had as a child when you went to bed on Christmas Eve? (ELABORATE)

Clement Clarke Moore captured that sense of anticipation in his famous 1822 poem, A Visit from St. Nocholas: “The stockings were hung by the chimney with care / In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there / The children were nestled all snug in their beds / While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.”

Almost 200 years later, when your children are snuggled in their beds, they won’t be having visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads; dancing in their heads will be visions of toys and dolls and bikes and dollhouses and video games and such like. But the anticipation will be just as gripping.

In Luke 2, we encounter a man who understood anticipation. Verses 25-26 we read about a very old senor citizen priest named Simeon: “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.”

Simeon had longed with great anticipation for the Messiah that had been promised in the scriptures…the consolation of Israel, the One who would save His people from their sins. Year after year, every Jew longed with expectation for that coming Savior.

But Simeon had even more reason to be filled with expectation. Verse 26 tells us that the Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.

That promise was fulfilled in verses 27-32 – “And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, ‘29 Lord, now let thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.’”

The person whom Simeon had so long anticipated and longed for had come. Now Simon could die with his greatest wish fulfilled.

Jesus has come, and even if you have not always longed in watchful anticipation of him because of your spiritual blindness before faith in Christ, you now know he fulfills your deepest spiritual longings.

Illus. – In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on Biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments and a large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. They relate the following story in their own words:

It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger.

Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city.

Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully, laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady threw away as she left Russia, were used for the baby’s blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States.

The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boy’s manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously.

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