Summary: This sermon focuses on the power of waiting.
Christmas is a few days a way. For some of you that brings excitement. For others anxiety and stress. Regardless of the emotion, I hope this week gives you the opportunity to reflect upon our question, What is the day truly all about?
As we have sought to answer this question, we have looked at the first hand testimonies of the shepherds, Joseph, and of Anna and Simeon. And it is here with Anna and Simeon, I would like to linger a bit with them. Two weeks ago we examined the responses of Anna and Simeon and this morning I would like to look closely at Mary and Joseph’s response to the words and prophesies of Anna and Simeon.
With that thought in mind turn with me to Luke Chapter 2 beginning in verse 33
If you remember, Anna and Simeon waited for the messiah to come. As they waited, each longed for something different. Simeon longed for comfort and Anna waited for forgiveness. This week as Christmas approaches as little children wait for Santa, wait for the presence and purpose of Jesus Christ in your life. And if you too long for comfort like Simeon or Forgiveness like Anna, then patiently wait for Jesus this week.
And as you do this, I want to offer to you three action steps that will help you experience the presence of God during this week.
The first action step is Become a Marveler
When Joseph and Mary tried to process everything that was happening, verse 33 says that they marveled at what was said about Jesus. According to the dictionary, to become a marveler is to be filled with wonder, astonishment, and surprise.
Are you a marveler this Christmas? Or, are you too caught up in the busyness and stress of the season? Have you been running around because of the Holidays, or are you taking the time to make Christmas a “holy” day? Has Christmas become too predictable, too familiar? Have you heard the Christmas story so much that it no longer astonishes you?
Actually, this can be a dangerous time of the year for us. Our annual celebration of Christmas can immunize us to its reality. We hear just enough of the story each year to inoculate us against the real thing, so that we never really catch true Christmas fever.
Here’s an idea that may help you recapture the marvel of Christmas. Pick one of the Christmas characters and put yourself in their sandals. Imagine what it must have been like to witness the Christmas story first hand. Go ahead; pick one -- Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds, Simeon, Anna, or the Wise Men.
A second action step is to become a mover.
Take a look at verse 27: “Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.” Now drop down to verse 38: “Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God...”
Both Simeon and Anna were movers. When the Holy Spirit prompted them to move, they didn’t sit still. I wonder what would have happened if they had not responded? Actually, every one of the Christmas characters responded to the Spirit’s leading with the exception of Herod:
Mary was ready to move when she said to the angel, “May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 2:38)