December 9 – Simeon and Salvation

Lets set the scene – so here is young Jesus, baby Jesus, and He is taken to temple (Luke 2.2223)This is before the wise men arrived, and His earthly parents have come to offer the required sacrifice as part of the dedication ceremony for families that could not afford a lamb (v.24), and in Luke 2.2535 we read

“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. 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. 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, 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
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your
people Israel.”
And his father and his mother marvelled at what was said about him. 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 (and a sword
will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.””

So here is Simeon, waiting for the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Consolation of Israel, and he takes up Jesus in his arms. He blesses God, he loves this baby despite only just having met him, so to speak, because he knows who He is, and what He is bringing… salvation.

Simeon knew that this was salvation for all, notice with me what he said…

“…my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of 
all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel
.”

All people, not just Israel, not just Jews, but Gentiles too: salvation is here for everyone through this person.

Though Mary and Joseph had been told that their Son was the Messiah (Matthew 1.21), perhaps they had not properly understood the global scale of what this child would accomplish.

Simeon saw, and Simeon knew.
Simon knew that he saw the Lord’s salvationa light for revelation, and the glory of God.

I wonder if you have ever seen Jesus like that;
as your own personal salvation,
as a revelation of who God is,
as the glory of God walking and talking in human flesh.

If you have, then this Christmas do everything you can in your own words and ways to manifest that to others, to show others what you believe.

If you haven’t, all it takes is faith; believe Him, believe in Him, put your trust in Him, and the gift you will receive this Christmas will be the best gift ever, the gift you need the most, forgiveness and life eternal. 


December 8 – A Prophetic Christmas

What are you planning to give people this Christmas? Did you buy them the latest or greatest — ?

Maybe you’re a person that thinks of gift ideas so easily that this time of year is no problem for you.

Maybe you have no idea what you can give people, and so Christmas is a time where you worry about over/under gifting.

How about a word of prophecy?

Perhaps you hear this word and think of the Old Testament guys and gals who predicted (accurately and without fail) future events concerning God’s people and God’s coming Messiah (Micah 4.8, 5.2, Isaiah9.2for example). Let’s be clear: that is not what we are talking about. That ministry is no more.

However, we do read in 1 Corinthians 14.3 that those who speak a word of prophecy speak to someone for their upbuilding, their encouragement, or their consolation.

“On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.”

In contrast (on the other hand) to the gift of tongues which is personal and private (1 Corinthians 14.2, 5b, 6, 9, 19), prophecy is for others. Prophecy is using your words in accordance with God’s Word to build people up, encourage people, and to console people.

So, this Christmas season, many people are so concerned with many things. Has there every been a season where so many are concerned with so much? As we move into a new world and a new way of living, be a person who gives a word of prophecy, a word of upbuilding, a word of encouragement, a word of consolation.

Second only to the unmatchable gift of God’s expressed love to you in the person of Jesus, I’m not sure there is anything more we can give people than love, upbuilding, encouragement, and consolation. 


December 7 – O Holy Night

One of my favourite hymns is O Holy Night. Reading around O Holy Night we learn that it is a

“…well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians) written by wine merchant and poet Placide Cappeau (1808–1877).
In both the French original and the English version of the carol, as well as in many other languages, the text reflects on the birth of Jesus as humanity’s redemption”.

It begins like this,

“O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.”

In the Word of God, ‘holy’ means to be set apart. Was there ever a night like this, set apart as the night of Jesus’ birth, the day that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (Luke 2.8, John 1.14)?

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining. ’Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”

As a result of the fall in Genesis 3, the world was in sin and error, but the birth of Jesus offered a way for the world and everything and everyone in it to be restored to how things should be, to be restored to right relationship with God (Genesis 3.15b, Romans 8.22, John 3.16).

“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born; O night divine, O night, O night divine!”

The Word tells us that one day every knee will bow at the name of Jesus (Philippians 2.10-11). One day we will be confronted with the reality to which our faith and hope and trust are anchored, and we will bow before the Lord and hear the angels worshiping Him forevermore (Revelation 5.11-14).

“Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we; His power and glory ever more proclaim! His power and glory ever more proclaim!”

Enjoy this Christmas hymn today as we prepare to celebrate and commemorate the birth of our Lord and Saviour on that holy night!

December 6 – The Simplicity Of Wonder

Often times nowadays when we want to tell a great story we embellish the details, don’t we? We don’t lie, but what is good we really emphasise, and what is not so great, we don’t spend much time on.

In Luke 2.7, the simplicity of the birth of Jesus is said in just 8 words,

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son…”

There is no need for embellishment, there is no need for extra details to be overemphasised, there is no need for unneeded words.

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son…”

The first three-quarters of the Bible have been looking forward to this date.

The fist two chapters of Luke have dealt with events leading up to this date.

The first few millennia of the earth since the promise of Genesis 3.15 was given have been looking forward to this date.

THERE IS NO NEED TO ADD TO THE SIMPLICITY OF THE WONDERFUL EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE THAT NIGHT.

We know they changed the course of human history.

We know this is when an all-powerful creator God pierced the space- time continuum and took up residence among us.

We know that this moment is the beginning of a point in history from which much of the Western world would begin to orbit (whether they know it or acknowledge it or not).

We know.

As we move through this Christmas season day by day, it is easy to fall prey to the trappings and temptations of the season;

one more of those…

buying that extra…

hanging that additional…

eating/drinking just one more…

Really though, the simplicity of the account of Luke gives us a model for the season: truth first.

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son…”

Truth first: Christmas is about the birth of Jesus.

Enjoy the accompaniments to this time of year, for sure, but always keeping the simplicity of the wondrous events of that night first and foremost.

December 5 – A Material Christmas

“Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbours, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”

(2 Kings 4.1-7)

Christmas is a time often associated with excess; food, drink, gifts, decorations, money…

But what if that is not you?

What if you don’t have any of that, does that mean you don’t have a real Christmas?

Does the thought of going into a season of material excess fill you with anxiety?

In 2 Kings 4 we see a lady struggling to make material ends meet, let alone have an excess with which to feast or celebrate. Things are so bad that she is on the verge of having to give up her children to pay her debts. She is struggling to provide for her family and must have felt hopeless. She had debts and no resources with which to pay them.

SHE WAS ENCOURAGED TO PUT HER FAITH AND TRUST IN THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD AND IN HIS PROVISION.

When you think about it, this is what Christmas is all about.

This season is not for material excess, but for celebrating the miraculous and world-changing provision God made for us by sending Jesus.

As the lady was encouraged to trust in God’s provision materially, I would encourage you this Christmas season to put your hope and trust in the greater provision He made for us: the answer to our anxieties, stresses, trials and tribulations, the real reason for the season, Jesus.

No matter your material resources, putting hope and trust in Jesus, not the temporal and temporary trappings of Christmas, gives us the guarantee of God’s provision, His abundant love, His forever acceptance, and His life-changing grace.