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Summary: A short talk for a Christmas Eve communion service on the anticipation of Simeon and Anna, and how they recongised the fulfillment of their hopes and dreams

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Simeon and Anna: Anticipation and recognition. Christmas Eve Communion service 24th Dec 2004. Lk 2:21-40

ANTICIPATION

It¡¦s almost Christmas day!

- anticipation

- 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.

Dear Santa,

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.

Dear Santa,

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

Both old.

- 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

RECOGNITION

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.

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