Christmas is Sunday. It is time to focus on why we celebrate this event. The announcements that were made to Isaiah, Micah, Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds. The story of Jesus birth. The praise of the angels, shepherds, Simeon, and Anna.
From the very beginning it is a supernatural story. Only God could have arranged all the details to make it happen. But happen it did.
Today we look at the praise of the angels, shepherds, Simeon, and Anna.
Luke 2:13-14 The Heavenly Host
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:15-20 The Shepherds
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Luke 2:25-32 Simeon’s Praise
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
Luke 2:36-38 Anna’s Thanksgiving
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
God made His first revelation of Jesus to the lowliest class of people, the shepherds. The message of salvation was for all people. They went and told others of what they had seen and heard.
Simeon waited patiently for the coming of the Lord. He was promised he would not see death till he saw Jesus. The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to him and he rejoices and praises God.
Anna, a widow for 84 years, who served God faithfully in the temple, sees Jesus and gives thanks.
What does the birth of Christ mean to you? Is a time of rejoicing, praise, and worship, or an excuse to party, buy gifts, and take a day off of work? It is an important question. If Jesus birth, life, death, and resurrection mean nothing or very little to you, you might want to consider your salvation.
Salvation is not just naming Christ, but living as He would have lived. His character, empathy, love, grace, should be qualities we should see in fellow believers. We should be students of the Bible for knowledge and for practical everyday living. The Bible is our guidebook on how to live life. The answers to all life’s questions are answered in God’s Holy Word.
May this Christmas be a time of reflection, renewal, encouragement, and understanding of the real meaning of Christmas. Your eternity is wrapped up in the babe in the manger.
Have a blessed Christmas.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001