Receiving Hope for Christmas

Well, we all made it through another Christmas. What, in these difficult times, should we really take from the Christmas season? I am reminded of a story in Luke that happened just after the birth of Christ. Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem according to Hebrew tradition to dedicate him to the Lord. There was a man there by the name of Simeon. He was a very old priest who had served God his whole life. It happened to be his time to serve in the temple on the very day Jesus was brought in for dedcation. Isn’t it strange how those coincidences seem to happen to faithful people?

Simeon had a promise from God. God told him he would not die until he had seen the “Consolation of Israel.” This was a common term for the Messiah and at this time many people were looking for Him. You see they were living in trying times as well. They were under occupation by a foreign power. Their culture and religion were under threat. They were at the economic mercy of their conquerors and they were occupied by the most powerful army in the world. They were looking for a solution to their problems and most believed that God would send a deliverer like Moses to once again lead them out of captivity.

Most people in Israel had no idea the Messiah had been born. A few knew something special had happened, but they did not understand the significance of the birth of this baby. Herod understood but saw Him as a threat. Once Jesus started His ministry as an adult, many did not believe in Him because he was not the military deliverer they had expected. Simeon was different. He knew by the Spirit of God that this newborn baby was the only hope for Israel. He saw what others could not. Listen to his comment upon seeing Jesus.

Luke2:29-32 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”

Simeon saw Jesus as the hope of the world when most saw nothing at all. I want to encourage you today to use the celebration of Christ’s birth as a focal point for renewed hope for your life. Jesus was the hope of mankind when He was born, during His ministry and in His sacrifice. He is still the hope of mankind in the midst of our day. If God would not leave us in our sin, but sent His only begotten son, He will not leave you today. Choose to be like Simeon and see what others cannot.

What should we take from the Christmas season? Hope, the knowledge that, with Jesus in our lives, anything is possible.

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