Just the other night, I was watching a Christmas movie on GMC. ‘Tis the season for Christmas movies on a number of channels! The movie was not very interesting, to be honest, but I kept flipping back to it because there was nothing else on TV worth watching. There came a part in the movie where an older gentleman read the Christmas story while a young girl acted out various parts. Once the play was completed, he said one of his favorite parts of the Christmas story was actually a part that was seldom read – the part about Simeon. He then proceeded to the following passage in Luke:
“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 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. So he came by 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, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
‘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.’
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’” Luke 2:25-35 NKJV
Hearing this made me pause to think: What would it have been like to be Simeon? That’s when I knew I kept switching back this movie for a reason. This was the part that God intended me to hear. He wanted to get a message to me, and to you.
Now, the Bible doesn’t tell us WHEN it was revealed to Simeon that he would see Jesus before he died. What if the Holy Spirit spoke that to him when he was 30 years old? He could have taken that one of two ways: either Christ is coming soon and I’m going to die young, or I’m going to have to wait a LONG time for this promise to be fulfilled.
At first glance, neither prospect seems “fun”, I have to admit. Simeon heard the voice of the Holy Spirit give him this wonderful promise… but how would he know when “the time” had come? I believe that as the years went by, he continued to practice hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit. Each time the Spirit spoke, Simeon obeyed. Simeon probably figured that when the time came for this promise to be fulfilled, he didn’t want to second guess that is was God who had spoken to him.
When the Spirit led him to the temple at the appointed time, it turned out that he was being led there not only so he could see the Lord’s Christ with his own eyes,
but so he could release words of blessing over Jesus and also Mary and Joseph. In fulfilling His promise to Simeon, God used him to bless Jesus’ earthly parents and communicate a specific message to them.
God is a connecter and a multiplier. Allow the story of Simeon to sink deep in to your heart, pondering how it applies to you and how it applies to the promises God has spoken to you.
But, Simeon was “just and devout”, you might say. So are you, if you’ve been washed by the Blood of Jesus, accepting Him as your Lord and Savior.
“But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” 1 Corinthians 1:30 NKJV
Now that we’ve got that point settled, consider what it is that the Holy Spirit has been speaking to you. What has God promised to YOU? Are you waiting expectantly for it? Are you endeavoring to follow the Holy Spirit in your daily walk, fine tuning your listening skills?
Are you willing to do what it is He says to see the promise come to pass? Like Simeon, will you follow the Holy Spirit as He leads you to the temple, or wherever that place is for you? At the exact day and in the exact hour? Will you be ready, in the midst of the fulfillment of His promise to you, to reach out and be His hands and His mouthpiece to bless others?
The promise that God made to Simeon may seem extra special, because it involved the birth of His Son, Jesus. But as sons and daughters of God, He treats each and every promise He makes to us the same way. It is important to Him that they come to pass in the right way, at the right time, and that we are prepared to receive them.
Listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit is vital. Reading the Word of God is vital. Prayer and worship is vital. It strengthens our relationship with God, which allows us to trust Him more fully and deeply. It gives us a certainty that can be obtained no other way.
Jesus came, as is said in Luke, to be “a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” Allow that light and that glory to penetrate your heart afresh and anew this Christmas.
The story of Simeon is my story. It’s your story. It’s the story of a person who dared to trust God.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Celebrate Your Faith!
MONDAY: Most children who receive shoe box gifts live in desperate circumstances. Pray that God will meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
TUESDAY: Pray for our ministry partners in countries around the world, especially that the shoe box gifts and follow-up discipleship programs will be effective evangelism tools.
WEDNESDAY: Pray that doors will be opened, so the Good News can be shared in countries that are you not receptive to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
THURSDAY: Pray for those who fill shoe box gifts this year, especially for children, that they will see that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.
FRIDAY: Pray for those involved in collecting, processing, transporting and delivering shoe box gifts, including the tens of thousands of volunteers.
SATURDAY: Pray for Samaritan’s Purse staff located throughout the world as they handle the logistics of Operation Christmas Child.
Christmas morning… What is the first thing your children do? Mine run to find and place Baby Jesus in the nativity with his parents, angels, wise men and animals. I love that they (13 and 11) still enjoy the wonder and excitement of His coming. (Ok, I know the pile of presents under the tree aid in their excitement!)
KT loves jewelry. And I love crosses. So would you surprised to hear I own over 10 cross necklaces/pendants. That means a lady can never have too many jeweled crosses. The one I selected to show here is a medium size. The same vendors makes a small and a large version in case you like to look but not the size. Here is a link to the entire assortment of jeweled cross necklaces!
Charms as so much more versatile then when KT was a kid. I had to get mine soldered onto a bracelet. Today you can clip them onto a link bracelet, a bangle bracelet or a necklace(Instyle gift guide 2011 twice). Mix and match them. Remove them around. I like all the memories that go along with charms. Like the one I got on my birthday so many years ago from my parents. It was of a birthday cake and you pushed a hidden button and candles popped up.
As the days shorten and the temperatures drop, candles are more frequently used at our home. At our family dinners, after the children go to bed and even in the mornings while reading the Sunday paper. The warmth and aroma from a candle is so welcoming.
Give a gift that is sure to brighten someone days through the long winter.
What says, “I thought of YOU!” more than a personalized gift. They know you didn’t regift it. They know you had to think about it in advance. AND with it being a Bible, they know you thought enough about them to give them something so precious and inspirational and loving.
Here is a link to the ENTIRE collection of personalized Bibles… click here and enjoy!
KT loves all the nail cross necklaces. I included a sample of a favorite. If you go to www.celebrateyourfaith.com and search nail cross jewelry, you can search the whole assortment.
“Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel – which, when translated, means, God with us.” Matthew 1:23 AMP
Christmas is an exciting time of year. We hurry back and forth to Christmas parties and concerts, to the malls to shop for friends and loved ones, to the grocery store to buy ingredients for Christmas cookies and our Christmas meal, to the tree lot or tree grove to cut down the Christmas tree… and all the while, God is with us. But how aware of Him are we?
Jesus came down from heaven as a baby over 2000 years ago so that GOD COULD BE WITH US. He no longer wanted to be confined to the Holy of Holies in the temple, He wanted to reside and dwell among His people. Jesus made the way for that to happen.
Emmanuel, God with us…
Emmanuel has always been my favorite “Name of God.” Any Christmas song that speaks of Emmanuel is inevitably my favorite one on any album. “God with us” is truly amazing. The Creator of the Universe abides with us here on the earth. He is closer to us than our next breath. He is immeasurable in His vastness, and yet He is so personal.
He wants to be involved in all aspects of our Christmas season. He wants to touch you through a special song at that Christmas concert. He wants to show you the perfect gift for your loved one. He wants to enjoy the trimming of the tree with you. He wants to show you exactly how long to bake that sweet potato pie so it comes out perfectly. He wants to be “with us.”
Prince of Peace
The only way for peace to reside on the earth, and for goodwill to be toward men, is through the love of Jesus. Jesus is also called the “Prince of Peace.” True and lasting peace is an outworking of what we hold on the inside. As we are more and more aware of God’s presence, we can receive Him in greater measure as our Prince of Peace.
As our minds and hearts are quieted and at rest in His peace, then the overflow of peace begins to affect our relationships and external circumstances. Jesus came that we may “have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)” John 10:10 AMP. Consider a glass of water. Until it’s filled up to the brim on the inside, it will not spill out and make the area around it wet. In the same way, we have to be filled up first before the overflow is available to impact those around us.
At Christmas time and on into the New Year, become aware of Emmanuel as you never have before. Allow Him to speak to you, to fill you up, and make an overflow available for all those you come in contact with. It will make the holiday season light up and sparkle in new ways, it will bring a greater meaning to everything you do, and it will deepen your relationship with God.
Christmas is a time of joy! There is no greater joy than knowing that God is right there with you and He desires to lead and guide you in every area of your life. He wants only the best for you! The level of joy you experience in knowing that is far above what anyone or anything in this world can give you!
To God be all the Glory now and forevermore! Join with the angels and sing His praises!