Summary: A sermon for the First Sunday of Christmas
First Sunday after Christmas
"Left - Overs"
22* And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”)
24* and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
25* Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26* And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27* And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law,
28* he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29* “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word;
30* for mine eyes have seen thy salvation
31* which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32* a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.”
33* And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him;
34* and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against
35* (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”
36* And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity,
37* and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.
38* And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
39* And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.
40* And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
"An Indian chief was disturbed about how lazy his braves had been during the hunting season, so he called all the tribe together and announced, "I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that, because you have been lazy and done little hunting this season, all we have to eat all winter long is clay from the riverbank. The good news is that there is an ample amount of clay to keep us going until next year."
Isn’t that life?? Good news and bad news seem to come together. I have some good news for you today, Christmas is over, you can relax, take it easy, the food is all baked, the tree is all decorated, the presents are all unwrapped, the holiday is finished. The bad news is, the clean up job remains. The Christmas decorations need to be put away, the trees undecorated, then either put back in the box, or hauled outside. There are piles of wrapping paper to put away and throw away, there are those added pounds to be lost, because you had such good food during these holidays. The bad news continues when you think of the gifts that have to be returned, because they didn’t fit right, or weren’t the exact color, and more bad news comes when you find that even though you were trying to be careful, you somehow over-spent and now you wonder how you are going to pay for all that good news.
These leftovers items are also part of the holiday, also part of the Christmas season, also part of our celebration. Somehow the leftovers seem to be an anticlimax to the Christmas celebration. Somehow these things cleaning, loosing weight, taking things back, putting things away, don’t seem to fit in just right with that Christmas Spirit. Somehow these leftovers just don’t feel right with the glitter, the excitement, the wonder, the awe, the majesty and the beauty of Christmas.
But, I would venture to say, these leftovers do go hand in hand with the Christmas spirit, these leftovers are part and parcel with Christmas.
These leftovers have as much to do with Christmas, as the event itself, because Christmas just doesn’t end after Dec. 25th, but what happened during Christmas lives on and on. It lives in our memories, it lives in these leftovers, it lives as we see anew what this Christ child means for us. The Christmas spirit, the birth of Jesus lived on in so-called leftovers of society as we read about Simeon and Anna in our gospel lesson this morning.