Waiting for Christmas
Waiting for Christmas (Luke 2:22-35)
We know the impatient difficulty that children have waiting for Christmas. There was one man who waited for Christmas with more expectancy than any other. He was an old man named Simeon. Simeon shows that God has a people prepared even in the worst of circumstances. The story of Jesus' birth shows that when religious leaders and institutions are corrupt, God still has a quiet people prepared for His coming. The characters of Luke 1 and 2—Elizabeth and Zechariah, Simeon and Anna, Joseph and Mary—reminds us that God will always have a faithful people, even in the worst of times.
Simeon shows us how to prepare our hearts for Christmas. We prepare for Christmas with integrity of heart and understanding of mind. There are certain things we should be and some things we should know as we wait for Christmas.
The Character of Those Who Wait for Christmas
Most of the people missed the significant events of that first Christmas. The political and religious leaders did not even know what was happening. Many in our city will altogether miss the significance of Christmas. Simeon was one of the few who saw and understood the mighty act of God that first Christmas. What characterized him?
Wait for Christmas with integrity. Simeon was "righteous and devout." With reference to God's will, there was reverence, devotion, and care about spiritual duties. No one sees Christmas who does not guard the integrity of his life. Only those whose hearts are right with God will see and sense the significance of Christmas.
Wait for Christmas with intensity. Simeon was "waiting for the consolation of Israel." A fierce intensity of expectation characterized Simeon. He lived daily in a white heat of expectancy that God was about to intervene. We experience as much of God as we intensely expect to experience. Christmastime ought to be a time to evaluate our spiritual expectancy.
Wait for Christmas with inspiration. The most critical aspect of Simeon's character was his relationship to the Holy Spirit. "The Holy Spirit was upon him" (v. 25) in an abiding communion with God. The Holy Spirit had given him a revelation—that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. The Holy Spirit gave him a direction: "Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts" (v. 27). The first Christmas was marked by a renewal of activity on the part of the Spirit of God. Every Christmas ought to be marked by a renewal of the Spirit in our lives.
The Comfort of Those Who Wait for Christmas
A sense of comfort and well-being characterizes those ready for the significance of Christmas. That comfort comes from our relationship to Christ.
Comfort comes in our reception of Christ. "Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God" (v. 28). In a literal sense, Simeon was the first person on record to receive Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he came at exactly the right time to precisely the right place. Many parents were bringing their infants to the temple for the act of presentation. Nothing physical or dramatic caused Mary, Joseph, and Jesus to stand out from the crowd. Yet Simeon unerringly found his way to the Christ. Has God led you to His Christ? The Holy Spirit is able to bring you to that precise time and place where your life intersects with His. The very same Spirit that drew Simeon draws you this Christmas.
Comfort comes from our satisfaction with Christ. Simeon expressed total fulfillment of life when he saw the Christ (v. 29). His words reflect a servant who had been posted by his master to wait for a certain event. When that event has happened, the tired servant asks to be dismissed. Simeon discovered absolute contentment and total well-being in seeing and receiving Christ. Do you face this Christmas with a sense of well-being and contentment in your life? Only seeing and receiving Christ gives that.
The Concern of Those Who Wait for Christmas
Christmas gives us a comfort, but it also gives our life an ultimate concern and mission.
Christmas concerns the certainty of God's faithfulness. He is a God who keeps His promise (v. 29). Our entire relationship to God depends on His faithfulness to His promises. In the coming of Christ we see that God does keep His promises. At least seventy-three specific promises written in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the coming of the Messiah at Christmas. We may be sure that the God who kept His promises in the past is the God who will keep His promises in the future.
Christmas concerns the universality of God's salvation. The old Jew, Simeon, proclaimed that the baby he held was a "light for revelation to the Gentiles" (v. 32). He saw that what happened in Jerusalem that day was for the entire planet. A piercing light flashes in every direction from that awesome moment. The very fact you are here today is proof of that. After this prophecy by Simeon, wise men from the East came to bow before the infant Christ. The Christian world mission cannot be separated from Christmas. It is news too good to keep. By prayer and by gift we must send that light.