When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke 2:22-35
As we turn our hearts and minds towards the final bend in the Advent season, love, I wonder if maybe the Beatles were right after all; maybe all we really need is love. Not a saccharine, Hallmark kind of love, but rather a true, sacrificing, agape sort of love. Simeon might surely agree. He’d waited all his life for a love like this, and now as the Christ child entered the Temple, Simeon’s wait was finally over. So overwhelmed was he, that he couldn’t help but erupt in praise,
“I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is the light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
In one utterance of praise, Simeon reveals that this Love, though the glory of Israel, was not just for Israel. This love was far too good not to share. This Love was meant for all the nations of the world!
Think about that for a moment. Think about the people in our world today, right now in 2020. We live in a time and space where humanity is radically divided. The number of people you may agree or identify with are likely far less than the ones you don’t. Where God intended differences to unite us, humanity far too often allows them to blind us. But consider salvation. Salvation is the great unifier. It binds us all to the same Savior despite race, religion, political, sexual, or economic ideation. It unifies us in our brokenness and need, and in our future destination as redeemed children of God. It is the gift we all desperately need.
As 2020 quickly approaches its end, we turn our eyes to a new year on the horizon. Some things may remain the same, but there is also a growing hope for change and restoration. As we carry the light and love of Christ into a new year, ripe with new dreams, hopes and possibilities, let’s take some time and ask ourselves a few questions. Who was the Christmas story for? How was it different from the old stories? How do I replicate Jesus’ love for me? Choose one thing you can do to help show the love of Christ this season. God’s love is far too good and far too important not to share with a hurting world around us. For more information visit, https://adventconspiracy.org/devotion
By Sheila Rennau