Posted by: pmarkrobb | December 18, 2016

expectantly waiting

There is precious little narrative on the life of Jesus following his birth and before he begins his ministry as a man.  On this final Sunday of Advent, i believe one of those stories offers a great place to stop and sit awhile as the night of our dear Savior’s birth fast approaches.

In obedience to the law, Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to offer a sacrifice and dedicate him to God.  While there, they experienced two bold and beautiful brush strokes of God’s great grace and love.  The first involved a man named Simeon.  The Bible describes him as a “righteous and devout” man, who was “eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel.” (Luke 2:25)  i invite you to quiet your heart in order to truly hear what follows in the very next verse …

The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.  That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God.

What an incredible promise to be given, and what a miraculous way in which it was fulfilled.  Obedient to the Spirit’s leading this ordinary man from Jerusalem visits the temple on the very day Mary and Joseph bring Jesus.   Amid what was most assuredly a busy temple scene, Simeon sees baby Jesus and instantly knows who He is.  He not only sees him from across the room, he approaches Mary and Joseph and takes the Messiah in his arms and speaks a prayer of praise.  How beautiful is this scene? … about to be even more so.

As Simeon is speaking, a woman comes along — a prophet, or prophetess as some translations refer to her.  She is in the temple because she literally lives at the temple.  The Bible says, “She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.” (Luke 2:37b)  This woman’s name is Anna.  She is a widow, and has been for a long time.  She was married only 7 years when her husband died, and different translations suggest that she had either been a widow for 84 years, or she was 84 years old when we meet her in this story.  Suffice it to say she lives and breathes her faith, and she has been faithful to God through fasting and prayer in the temple for a great many years.

Anna had been serving God singularly and silently in whatever way she could and suddenly God inserts her into this monumental moment.  She begins praising God openly, and with everyone she can find!  i love the words of the Message in Luke 2:38 where it says, “At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem.”  “She showed up!”  Oh, the simple, yet profound truth … “She showed up!”  And, she “broke into an anthem of praise to God…”  Can’t you just see and hear her?!  This likely humble and gracious prophetess breaks into song and oratory, moving from person to person, pronouncing the Christ child to all who were “waiting expectantly.”

Expectantly waiting.  Can these words be used in description of you?  Are they true of you in this season of Advent?  Are they true of you as you live your life in this world with your eyes focused on the one to come?

Simeon and Anna challenge my heart and life in these last few days before Christmas, and in these “last days” before Christ’s return.  Am i expectantly waiting for my Savior?  Or, have expectations and my circumstances overwhelmed my mind, burdened my heart, and distracted my attention from Him?

i pray the story of Simeon and Anna, and those in the posts of the past three weeks of Advent, have moved your heart and mind in the direction of expectancy … Expectancy for the dawn that will break on the morning which commemorates the birth of our Savior; Expectancy for the moment when that same Savior breaks through the clouds to take us to be with him.  Until that moment and in this season,

May the Lord bless you and keep you.  May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.  May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Merry Christmas.

yeam2016christmas


Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing and helping me to renew my Expectancy this Christmas season!

  2. Expectancy – waiting on that which IS to come. Joyful Expectancy – looking forward to that which IS to come. Fulfilled Expectancy – being touched with praise and worship by that which IS to come.

    The coming is certain! Our response uncertain.Totally linked to our expectancy – full on, or lack of. Father, might we not miss because we don’t expect. Might we not greatly rejoice, because we expect little. Might we see freshly Your promise to send, to become, to dwell, to be “with us” as this 1st Christmas approaches.

    O Come, O Come Emmanuel!

    Thanks for sharing in, and directing toward, His coming. 🙂
    g


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