Simeon and Anna: Anticipation and recognition. Christmas Eve Communion service 24th Dec 2004. Lk 2:21-40
It¡¦s almost Christmas day!
- bet the kids will be up¡Know or early
o have you ever snuck downstairs to look at presents?
„X Bike! Find out it¡¦s not for you!
o Open stocking and fall asleep amid the wrappers!
Letters of hope and anticipation to ¡¥Santa¡¦:
Dear Santa Claus,
When you come to my house there will be cookies for you. But if you are real hungry you can use our phone and order a pizza to go.
I want a Puppy. I want a playhouse. Thank you. I¡¦ve been good most of the time. Sometimes I¡¦m wild.
Dear Santa, (From a 4-year-old) I
I¡¦ll take anything because I haven¡¦t been that good.
I¡¦m not going to ask for a lot. Here¡¦s my list: The Etch-A-Sketch animator, 2 packs of #2 pencils, Crayola fat markers and the big gift...my own colour TV! Well, maybe you could drop the pencils; I don¡¦t want to be really selfish.
from a sermon by Brian Bill called Waiting for Christmas Luke 2:22-2:38 on www.sermoncentral.com
And it¡¦s not just anticipation about that stuff
- it¡¦s anticipation of a very special day!
- A day¡K event we thank God for
Now- we¡¦re familiar with that kind of anticipation¡K. And maybe the anticipation of Mary as she waits to give birth. The journey. The waiting
- and we wait with her, in one sense. Tonight.
Maybe you¡¦re familiar with the fact that people had been waiting a long time for this event
- the first hints about the Messiah were made to Abraham ~ 200BC
- expectancy had grown. Fed by many words from prophets throughout the OT who help build up something of the jig-saw-puzzle picture of the ¡¥Messiah¡¦ (anointed one)
o build the expectancy
o build it to a point of longing and groaning
„X enhanced by 300 + years of prophetic silence and some decades of occupation
„X ¡§God, come and redeem us! Rescue us! Save us!¡¨
There should be an excited anticipation in us, as well, tonight
- in many there is a huge longing. A groaning. ¡§God, help! When are you going to do something? When are you coming? Can you save me¡¨
- maybe they¡K we don¡¦t know who we¡¦re groaning to. But pray and groan MOST folks DO.
But there are a couple of individuals who waited, anticipated longer than Mary and Joseph. Not longer than the Jewish people¡K but maybe longer than virtually every other individual
- they always get missed out of the Christmas cards¡K are never in the nativity scenes¡K and are in few sermons
o but they are there in the Christmas story. Waiting. Anticipating
Simeon and Anna
- Anna is described as ¡¥very old¡¦. She was either 84 or 91 (ancient for those days!)
- Simeon was waiting for the Messiah: the one who would bring comfort and consolation. Probably had been waiting all his life
o Righteous, devout. Holy Spirit upon him (rare!)
o God had revealed to him: ¡§you will see what you have been waiting for¡¨
And at the time that Mary and Joseph come to circumcise Jesus and offer thanks and sacrifice for him
- the Holy Spirit somehow leads him down to the temple
o went with anticipation? Wonder what he expected to find?
Anna had taken up residence there!
- 24hr service!
- Described as a prophetess! In the ¡¥time of silence¡¦
And here¡¦s what struck me
They recognised what they saw! What they had anticipated
That little pink, crying thing! That¡¦s the fulfilment of the hopes and fears of all the years. Met in that little baby
I wonder if you or I would have recognised it? Or if we DO?
- ¡§God. Why don¡¦t you show yourself! If there is a supreme being- why don¡¦t you communicate with us in a way we can understand?! Make some sense of this veil of tears?! How can you stand by and let it all happen? Do something!¡¨
Do you recognise it? Him?
- the Supreme being¡Kemptying Himself¡K coming humbly. The king¡K in straw and swaddling bands
o THE ANSWER. In the flesh.
- think of it: how else could He have done it, really? How else does REAL power and love show itself but in meekness?.
o Meekness and majesty. Manhood and deity
Good old Simeon and Anna. (literally!)
- they really had no idea how God would answer their hopes and cries
- probably expected a strong strapping military leader to come to the temple. Arnie or Brad Pitt style
MAL 3:1 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.
But they are open enough to recognise God¡¦s supreme event and answer when it happens. Even if it blows their preconceptions
- and Simeon cries out the nunc dimittis. ¡§At last! I can go now! In peace¡¨
o my eyes have seen what will save us. And the gentiles! (man, is this old guy open!)
- Anna recognises Him as the one who will redeem people. Save them and but them from oppression and slavery.
Do you? Do we recognise
- the answer to our ¡¥anticipation¡¦, longings¡Khopes. Questions?
- The significance?
- His significance?
Not everyone does. All search. All ask Q¡¦s.
- but some don¡¦t want their questions answered in/by Him
o but, think about it: how else are you going to know what the One Eternal Supreme being is like unless He shows Himself?
„X (without that you just end up with a mish-mash of spiritual and philosophical ideas from well meaning thought and a mixed up world)
Gosh- it all hangs on Him. The hopes. Fears. Longing. Anticipation. ¡K¡K..Redemption¡K¡K¡K¡K Salvation.
- ¡§the rising and falling of many¡¨, Simeon says
o people polarise around whether they accept or reject this child
(Recognise Him or reject Him¡K but you can¡¦t ignore Him)
Wise men and women recognised Jesus. Wise people still do.