Summary: What are your dreams? What is it that God has placed deep in your heart? The answer and the fulfillment to each of these is found in the birth that we celebrate this Christmas season.
We're just a week away from Christmas...and for many it is an exciting time...especially for the children. I enjoy asking kids what they want for Christmas. Most have little hesitation in naming off a few dozen things they'd like to have. Some may be realistic...and others are just things they dream about.
And I find that quite a bit of that never seems to go away with age...this looking for something that seems almost impossible to have. I guess there are maybe 2 kinds of people...dreamers...and pragmatists...those who never seem to venture out of reality for very long.
We all know people who are dreamers. One person comes to my mind when I think of this...a young man who is always talking about doing so many great things...but yet he never seems to be able to make it out to get a job that would at least enable him to make a legitimate attempt at achieving some of these lofty goals.
I'm sure we all have dreams...and probably more than we realize or would admit. Like when we get those thick envelopes from Ed McMahon saying you're in the running for $10 million. Or when someone does something pretty spectacular, some often fantasize of achieving those things themselves. Or maybe because things are tough we dream of what it could and should be like if we'd just get our big break.
Now, I don't know how you'd classify yourself or even if you've ever thought about such trivial matters...but it was made pretty clear to me on Thursday night just what kind of person I am. Nancy and I were praying together, actually praying for each other...and as she was praying, Nancy said to God..."Lord, I know John is a dreamer."
I guess for a second or two I was shocked to hear that...but it is true. And it wasn't meant in a negative way when she said it. I am a dreamer. I have dreams for my family...dreams for my ministry...dreams for this church.
But what is it that makes some dreamers waste their lives in a meaningless mind game...while others seems to be able to pursue their dreams with a passion and fire that will stop at nothing short of completion? What makes some dreams merely an escape from reality while others become the motivating force in a person's life?
There are many dreamers who have made a definite impact on the world. Thomas Edison was a dreamer. He had a vision of, among other things, a means to create artificial light that would be a practical tool for the common person. And we all know how important that is today.
When I was a kid, 2 of my heroes were Alan B. Shepherd and John Glenn...2 men who dreamed of traveling through space...something that way back then was a dream just beginning to be realized.
What about Martin Luther King, Jr? One of the most famous speeches of all time was given when he shared his dream of racial harmony with the world. "I Have a Dream!" He never lived to see his dream come true...but he was a man who lived - and died - working to see that dream come true.
And then there's me...another of the many dreamers in the world today. I may never see all my dreams come true...but I believe that the dreams I have are what motivate me...they keep me going when times are tough...when it seems like there's no earthly way possible for them to come true...they still just never seem to fade.
Even when I want to bury them and forget they ever existed...they always burn deep in my heart. .........Is there any hope for dreamers like me? But more importantly...I think we need to ask the question, "Is there any purpose in all this dreaming? Is it sometimes more than just an exercise in escaping reality? Could there be a divine purpose?"
This morning I want to look at another man who had a dream...who had a vision of something that motivated and dominated his life...a man we probably seldom think about when we think of the Christmas story. That man's name was Simeon.
Simeon is a man we know little about. He pops on the scene for just a brief moment and is never seen or heard of again. But he has much to share with us in this brief encounter. I want to look at this man with a dream. READ Luke 2:25-35
Now, just a casual glance at this passage tells us a lot about this man Simeon. We can see that he was a man who was very sensitive to the spirit of God. This is a man whose faith was not shallow...requiring "a sign" at every turn in order to believe.