Summary: The theme will be disappointment. For many people, the days after Christmas are filled with disappointment and for some, depression. The excitement of the holidays is over and everyone has gone home. Those whose children are now adults find themselves at
Luke 2:8-24, 39-40
My wife began the sermon by telling about the birth of our first son and the feeling she had when everyone went home and we were left alone to care for and raise him.
There is always a “coming down” after an exciting event. The event can be the birth of a child, a spiritual retreat, a birthday party, a wedding, or a vacation. It doesn’t matter what the event is, there is a time of “coming down”. The degree of the “coming down” will depend on the event and the person. So, how do we get through the emotional “down” time? Luke gives us some hints into the lives of Joseph, Mary, and the baby, Jesus after his birth. The shepherds have returned to their fields and flocks. Everyone has gone.
Mary meditated on the events of the birth of Jesus. (2:19)
…but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.
Luke tells us that Mary kept all these events in heart and she thought about them often.
We tend to move from one event to another without giving much thought to the events. Meditation isn’t some secretive ritual that only super-holy people can do. Meditation is focused thinking. Any time you concentrate on an event or situation, you’re meditating.
What you do with those thoughts will determine the results of your meditating. If meditate on a person who has hurt you, your meditation can take one of two directions. You can get angry and plot your revenge. Or, you can pray for the person and ask God to help you see their hurt. Remember, hurting people hurt people.
Meditation and prayer belong together. Meditation will add depth to your prayers and prayer will keep your meditations in check.
Now that Christmas is over or nearing it end, make the time to think and ponder over the events. Pray for each family member, each friend, and yes, for each person who disappointed or hurt you in some way. Jesus told us to pray for our enemies.
Joseph and Mary participated in the required spiritual rituals. (2:21-24)
21Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.
22Then it was time for the purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 23The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.” 24So they offered a sacrifice according to what was required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Joseph and Mary participated in the rituals of circumcision, the purification offering, and presentation.
There are spiritual exercises that we participate in that keep us healthy. We’ve already talked about prayer and meditation. The three that Joseph and Mary participated in are essential. We can participate in each of these rituals every day in a spiritual and symbolic way.
Circumcision was a ritual that represented the holiness of Jewish men. Every male was dedicated to the Lord. The men represented the nation of Israel, so they were circumcised as a way to set themselves apart from other nations.
Everyday, we purify ourselves by circumcising our hearts. We spiritually cut a way all that is impure.
Romans 2:28-29 (NLT)
28For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the Jewish ceremony of circumcision. 29No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not a cutting of the body but a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit.
Everyday, we present ourselves to God.
Romans 12:1 (KJV)
1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
These simple spiritual practices will prepare us for the next thing Joseph and Mary did when everyone had left.
They lived their lives. (2:39-40)
39When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom beyond his years, and God placed his special favor upon him.
God never intended for us to leave life and live on a mountain with him. Our existence is not by chance, but ordered by the will of God. So, Mary and Joseph went home and got busy with life. Joseph returned to his carpentry and Mary went home to a busy schedule of nursing, changing diapers, and keeping the house. Both of them returned home to raise the baby.