Week 51: Don't Miss Jesus
21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:21-35
Well, Merry Christmas! As this gets sent out, it is Christmas Eve, which means it’s almost here. For many of us, Christmas Day will be a whirlwind. There will be presents and paper and travel and food and pictures and hugs and excitement. The day will be filled with old traditions and brand new experiences.
Many will be reunited with family members that they haven’t seen in months or sometimes even years. And some, some will experience a first Christmas without someone very special. And the emotions will be all over the place. You see, Christmas can be overwhelming.
And I know this is a very simple thought, but in the midst of it all: the presents and friends and celebration and “some assembly required” and looking for the right-size batteries and face-timing and Christmas dinner…In the midst of it all, please, don’t miss Jesus.
You see, in Luke chapter 2, Simeon is at the temple on the day that Jesus will be presented unto the Lord in accordance with the Law of Moses. One thing I know about the Temple Mount, both then and now, is that it was busy. I mean VERY busy.
There would always be travelers from all over the region, like Mary and Joseph from Galilee by way of Bethlehem. There would be buying and selling of sacrifices. People would be cleansing themselves in the ceremonial baths, called mikvehs.
Not to mention the sacrifices themselves being made. I mean animals making all sorts of animal noises. People would be on their knees praying and praying and praying.
There would be groups of people gathered in different parts of the temple area, talking about, debating, arguing their understanding of Torah. And to top it off, there would even be singing of the Psalms as men and women ascended the southern steps towards the temple.
All of that to say, is that the Temple Mount would have seemed very loud and chaotic on most days. And yet somehow, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Simeon sees through all of the chaotic activity and zeros in on Jesus.
That’s my prayer for you this Christmas. I pray that you would not be distracted by good things, like parties and presents and church services, at the expense of the best thing, Jesus.
I want to challenge you on Christmas Day to spend some part of the day focused on seeing Jesus. I hope that you will see Jesus in the face of your friends and family as you recognize that God wired us for those relationships. And when we love one another, we honor Him.
I hope that before you dig into the furry of opening presents, that you take a few minutes to see Jesus, by opening the Bible, maybe to Luke chapter 2 and be reminded of God’s greatest gift to us.
And I hope that maybe after things settle down a little later in the day, that you might find a quiet place to go and spend some time with Jesus.
And I hope your Christmas Day is the best day ever, because this year at Christmas, you saw Jesus.