Summary: A message for Christmas Eve focusing on the respone of Simeon and Anna to the Christ child.
The “End” of Christmas - Luke 2:25-38 - December 24, 2012
Series: Advent 2012 - #5
I remember that as a child, Christmas was really a month long event. It began, each year, on December 1st when the tree went up, the lights were hung, and the decorations set to adorn the house. That’s when the Christmas records came out – and yes, I said “records,” – not CD’s or MP3’s – not 8-tracks either though! - and the stockings were hung and the Christmas baking began. There was a nearly tangible air of anticipation that filled the house. It grew with each passing day until it reached a frenzy Christmas Eve, exploded in excitement and laughter Christmas morning, and then faded away for another year on December 31st when the tree and the decorations would come down. I loved the sense of wonder that filled my heart each Christmas. But I didn’t like the waiting. And as a child it’s the waiting for Christmas morning that I remember so well. Knowing that there were gifts under the tree, something special chosen just for me, but waiting for the moment when I would be able to truly make it my very own.
Generally speaking, even as adults, we don’t like waiting, but most of us find ourselves waiting for something none-the-less, don’t we? And I’m not simply speaking of waiting in lines or for a meal to be ready. I’m thinking of the waiting so many of us do – waiting for that moment in life when a dream comes true, when we suddenly realize that we’re living the life we’d set our hearts on, that moment when expectations and hopes come together in the same place and time. Or maybe you’re waiting for that day when life will begin to make sense again – because right now it doesn’t - and deep inside you’re wondering if it ever will again. You’re longing for that intangible future day when the heartache and grief you experience are bound up and healed. There are so many things like these that we find ourselves waiting for, hoping for, longing for - and so it is that maybe you find yourself waiting for something during this Christmas season. And it won’t be found wrapped up in a box, nor under a tree; you’re waiting for something not sure what it’ll be – not even sure if you could put a finger on it, and call it by name - but desperately longing for it none-the-less.
If so, you’re not alone. It has often been this way. Till the birth of Christ the whole nation of Israel had been waiting to hear from God. It had been 400 years of silence. 400 years when the prophets had not spoken. 400 years since the people had heard from God. 400 years of longing for the hand of God to touch their lives and the Spirit of God to fall upon them. 400 years of anticipation and hope, of wondering and desire, of brokenness and need. 400 years of waiting.
But friends, in the events of that first Christmas, God was moving. God was stirring the world, God was doing that which no eye had seen, nor ear had ever heard; He was doing that which had never been done before. And in the midst of it all we hear the faithful cry, of one man, and one woman – a man and a woman who had been waiting for so very long - yet who never lost hope. A man and a woman who discovered the very things they had been longing for, waiting for, desperately needing, in the birth of Jesus. And I want to share their stories with you tonight because some of you are waiting. Waiting to hear from God. Waiting for Him to enter into the brokenness, the need, the moments, of your life. If you have your Bible with you, and would like to follow along, you can turn to the Gospel of Luke. Luke, chapter 2 and we’ll begin reading in verse 25 …
And keep in mind that the stories of these two lives don’t find their way into the pages of the Bible by accident - God chose for Luke to record their testimonies for a reason. Yet at first glance neither seems to be a likely candidate for such an honor. But as is written in Scripture, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” [1 Corinthians 1:27] And so it is in this case for there is nothing extraordinary about the lives of these two people - unless it be their faith in God. There is nothing seemingly special about them that would set them apart - but for these few, brief moments of time, their lives intersected with that of the Christ child, and all the longing, all the waiting, all the hoping of the years, was realized in their hearts. This is what we read beginning in verse 25 …