Sermons

Summary: The hope of Christmas is not a sentimental hope… it’s filled with sentiments of a child born in a manger… of becoming one with us… of making the world a better place… but we must shake off the sentimental hope to take hold of the substance… the prophe

Intro

It’s especially wonderful to gather together tonight.

As a teenager… one of the most significant spiritual senses I had came on Christmas Eve… I can

still remember at around 16… driving to a late night candlelight services. I was drawn into the

wonder… God incarnate. It’s never left me.

If I had to capture what I feel in a word… along with wonder… would be HOPE. It’s a sense that

something has come that sets the world aright.

Now tonight is a night filled with hope of a different kind… hoping Santa got the list… grandma

sent the package… mom and dad got the hints.

We hope someone wasn’t too busy to remember us.

Tonight the creator of universe wants you to know… he didn’t forget us… he hasn’t forgotten you.

He’s come to fulfill the hope that’s within us… not for that which will only satisfy for awhile… but

a more ultimate hope.

Tonight is a night that many may be thinking of things they can’t live without… but God invites us

to be those who realize that there is only one gift we can’t live without.

It’s the gift that filled and fulfilled the hopes of Mary and Joseph… the Shepherds… the Magi… but

also two more often missed who first beheld the gift and hope of Christmas.

Luke 2:22, 25-38

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been

completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord...Now

there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was

waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been

revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s

Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents

brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 "Sovereign Lord, as you

have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your

salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation

to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." 33 The child’s father and mother

marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary,

his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel,

and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will

be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too." 36 There was also a

prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old;

she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a

widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and

day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks

to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption

of Jerusalem.

Two characters who make their appearance in the final acts of the Christmas drama. One is a

man named Simeon; the other is a woman named Anna. They don’t appear in any nativity scenes

or in many Christmas cards, but tonight they declare to us the true hope of Christmas.

Amazing / Remarkable encounter… cosmic crossroads

One man and one woman grasp what so many missed. So many were trying to just fulfill their

religious duty… they had become so centered in the Temple activity that they weren’t looking

for anything else. I suppose it’s still happening… and all the more with a holiday like

Christmas.

But there were two who recognized more… two who received the greatest gift the world has

ever known.

What drew these two?

Waiting

SIMEON

• “He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” – Luke 2:25

• Knew a world that needed to be made right…

• Waiting for more than most… God’s light for the whole world… Jews… but also Gentiles…

Isaiah 49:6 (NIV)

6

he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring

back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring

my salvation to the ends of the earth."

ANNA –

• a prophetess –reminder that while culture is often slow to recognize the equality of women…

God had endowed spiritual gifting equally upon women as men.

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