Christmas Anticipations by Erny McDonough

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Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 14 Dec 17 - 0 Comments

I believe I have been blessed this Christmas season with a few new revelations from the Christmas story. I preached on of these recently and wanted to share it with those who missed our services. I trust that you know that you are always welcomed at the Chapel, but when you don’t show, I will occasionally try to keep you informed as to what I believe the Lord is speaking to our community.

I would encourage you to read the Christmas Story from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2. The new revelation I received is recorded in verses 25 through 38.

Since childhood, we all know the agony of waiting for Christmas to arrive. I am not sure how much that changes with maturity! I saw some letters to Santa recently:
From a 4 year old – “Dear Santa, I’ll tkae anything because I have not been that good.”

“Dear Santa, I want a puppy. I want a playhouse. Thank you. I’ve been good most of the time, but sometimes Mom calls me her ‘Wild Child’!”

“Dear Santa, When you come to my house there will be cookies for you. But if you are real hungry, you can use our phone and order pizza to go.”

“Dear Santa, I’m not going to ask for a lot. Here’s my list: the Etch-A-Sketch animator, 2 packs of #2 pencils, Crayola fat markers, flat screen smart T.V. (at least 60 inch), and a lap-top computer. Well, maybe you could drop the pencils, I don’t want to be selfish.”

What are we anticipating this Christmas? A new house? A new car? A new job? A new relationship? What do we truly want for Christmas?

In our Bible story, we find two characters who make their appearance in the final acts of the Christmas drama – Simeon and Anna. They are not a part of any nativity scene, but they are significant players in the first Christmas pageant. Both were waiting for something or Someone. Dr. Luke, who wrote this story, used a Greek word of anticipation that identifies them as waiting with expectation for the coming of the Messiah, their promise as a part of the nation of Israel. The word literally means that they were “alert to His appearance, and ready to welcome Him.”

Simeon was an old man – we do not know just how old, but served God in the Temple. The nation of Israel had not heard from God in about 400 years and was under the rule of the Roman Government. They had lost their political independence and were living in fear under the cruel King Herod. In spite of Simeon’s situation, he was a man who did right in the eyes of man and was right in the eyes of God – both “righteous and devout.”

Simeon’s expectation and desire was focused on the comfort Christ would bring. Comfort is a universal human need. Have we ever witnessed such loneliness, emptiness, insecurity, and even desperation as we are seeing today? Most know that Christmas is a major crisis time for depression and suicides happen in this season than at any other time of the year.

The Lord prompted Simeon to go to church, just at the right time. When Simeon looked at the six week old baby Jesus; he knew God had kept His promise – Emmanuel, “God with us,” had arrived.

Anna was older than Simeon. After her husband had died, she had dedicated herself to fasting and praying in the church for some 80 years. She was looking for the same person as Simeon, but with a different orientation – she was looking for forgiveness. When one studies out her anticipation, they will find the word “redemption,” which relates to the idea of being released from captivity. Since the beginning of time, after the fall in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve, God has required those wanting a relationship with Him to offer a yearly sacrifice. Anna was looking forward to the day when she would no longer have to face her sins every year, but would have them forgiven – taken totally away – forever!

The temple message was that there was one coming – the Messiah – Who would remove the nation from captivity and make it possible for one’s sins to be forgiven, not just rolled ahead to be faced year after year.

Christmas is the celebration that brought us Jesus. He came providing the very things that Simeon and Anna were anticipating – God’s comfort and His forgiveness! Now, please do not allow the kids to read this, but we truly know “there is no Santa Claus”! But, there is a Comforter and a Forgiver.

Where are you today? Do you identify with Simeon? Are you feeling lonely, empty, afraid, and maxed out? Do you need some comfort – some consoling? Do you need a fresh sense of God’s presence? If so, you can find what you are looking for in Jesus. He came to console us right where we are!

Or, do you identify more with Anna? Are you plagued with guilt this Christmas because of something you have done or what you should have done, or the way you have been living? Do you feel trapped in a pattern of sin that you cannot break free from? Then, if that is you, Jesus can bring forgiveness to you right now!

In Jesus Christ, we can find everything we are looking for! Once we know the Christ of Christmas, we have what will truly satisfy! No longer will the trinkets under the Christmas Tree bring us much delight for we will find our Answer in the One who died on a tree for us!

Find the Christ of Christmas!

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