Scripture Reading: Numbers 7:1-65 / Luke 2:21-40 / Psalm 35:1-10
A woman was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable; and after hours of hearing her children ask for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids.
She was feeling what so many feel during the holiday season. Like her, we often feel the overwhelming pressure to go to every party, taste all the holiday food and treats, get the perfect gift for every person on our shopping list, make sure we don’t forget anyone on our list and deal with the pressure of responding to everyone who has sent us a card.
Finally, the elevator doors opened and the elevator was crowded. She pushed her way into the elevator, dragging her two kids and all of her bags of “stuff”. When the doors closed she couldn’t take it anymore and exclaimed, “Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot!”
From the back of the car everyone heard a quiet calm voice respond, “Don’t worry, we already crucified him.” For the rest of the trip down the elevator, it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. We can get so caught up in the hustle and the bustle of tradition we lose sight of the truth and magnitude of the manger message.
A common Jewish prayer was prayed on a daily basis, “May I see the consolation of Israel!” Every Israelite longed to see the Messiah. Simeon was righteous and reverent before God and was looking for the One who would bring comfort to the nation. “He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” (Luke 2:25,26)
Simeon knew God was faithful to His promises. Abraham was promised a son, Elisha promised the Shunammite woman would have a son, Hannah was promised a son as well as Elizabeth. The day had come for God’s promise to Simeon to be fulfilled. “Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts,” took Jesus in his arms and said, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation…” (vs. 27,29,30)
Simeon saw salvation wrapped in a blanket! He not only saw The Messiah, Simeon cradled the 40 day-old Messiah in His arms. Mary and Joseph went to the Temple to consecrate and dedicate Jesus. They could not afford a sacrificial lamb so brought a pair of doves or pigeons. Unknowingly, they did bring a lamb…a spotless, pure and holy lamb - Jesus. Redemption was carried into the temple and Simeon was ready to depart in peace. Don’t get stressed out at Christmas or in life…enjoy the peace of finding, embracing, worshipping and receiving the One who started it all…Jesus!