Sermon: WAIT! Luke 2:21-40 December 29, 2002
A. I think the second most hated word in my household, after no, is wait! Wait you can open your present tomorrow. Wait a minute, you have to have dinner before you eat your candy. Wait, you have to play with that outside. Gene, you have to wait until after the kids go to bed to play with Miguel’s remote control car!
1. Waiting! We hate it! Yet, it seems as if all of life is about waiting. You wait for the baby to be born, you wait for it to say its the first word, to take its first step. You have to wait until you are 16 to drive a car. You wait for the right man or woman to come along to get married, you wait for that promotion, your first home, or that new car or van. You wait on your husband to fix something. You wait on your wife to get ready.
(a) Ed Watt was visiting a local department store with his wife. They had just purchased a piece of luggage and a cooler. As Ed was waiting for his wife to finish the rest of her shopping he dragged the luggage and cooler around with him to the shoe department. A clerk asked if he could be of assistance. “No, thank you," Ed replied. “I’m just waiting for my wife." At that point, a man behind him said, "I’m waiting for my wife, too, but I never thought of bringing a lunch and an overnight bag with me."
2. But waiting in real life isn’t always so humorous. It isn’t always about a positive expectation or change. Sometimes waiting is hard, even painful. Like when you are waiting while a loved one undergoes major surgery, waiting for test results regarding a life-threatening illness, waiting for your company decides who gets laid off, waiting at the bedside of a dying child.
3. Wait! Wait! Good or bad, the truth is most of us are waiting even now for something in our lives. And we don’t know what to do, we have no other choice but to wait for its outcome!
II. In this morning’s gospel lesson we find a story of people waiting, an example of how to wait. Turn with me if you will to this mornings text, Luke 2:21-38 READ
A. An angel had appeared to Mary and Joseph and told them they were going to have a son, not just any son but the Son of the Most High. That he would be given the throne of David and would reign over the house of Jacob forever!
1. And then that was it, for nine months they waited and waited. We don’t find in the scripture any more angelic visits or affirmation of what the angels had said. How hard it must have been for them to endure the gossip, and looks while they waited. How many times they must have questioned themselves, questioned Did we really see an angel? Did she really say this child was going to be given the throne of David?
2. And then, finally, their son was born. But the wait didn’t seem to be over. “Joseph, if our son is to sit on the throne then why is he being borne here, here in a stable? Why am I having to lay him in a manger.” “I don’t know Mary, we will just have to wait on the Lord.” “How long are we going to have to wait? I wish I knew Mary. Well, what do we do now?” “I don’t know I guess we just keep on living in accordance with God Word.”
3. And so, on the eighth day, Mary and Joseph, being of Jewish origin and living under the law of the Old Testament, took their baby boy to be circumcised and named. Then they waited thirty-three more days, as according to the law, and carried their small son three miles to Jerusalem for the redemption and purification ceremonies at the temple. These two ceremonies were traditional in a Jewish home under according to the Old Testament law.
(a) Exodus 12:2 says “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord,”: Holy as in belonging to God. In recognition it was required that the male child be taken to the temple and presented to before God for His service. The child was required to be given to the priest but, the child could be redeemed – or bought back – through by an offering to God five shekels to the priest. This ceremony was designed to remind the parents that their child belonged to God, and it was God alone has the power to give life and take it away. Not unlike what we in part celebrate with the baptism of our children today.