Thursday, 26 December 2013

Christmas. First day.

I want to see God move in unexpected ways.
When Mary and Joseph took Jesus, as their first-born son, to be dedicated at the temple, they met an old man named Simeon.
"In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:
God, you can now release your servant;
    release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
    it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
    and of glory for your people Israel.
Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother,
This child marks both the failure and
    the recovery of many in Israel,
A figure misunderstood and contradicted—
    the pain of a sword-thrust through you—
But the rejection will force honesty,
    as God reveals who they really are." (Luke 2:25 - 32)
Simeon saw not just a baby; he saw who the baby truly was and would become: a man of God who would bring peace between all men and God. Simeon’s years of faithful prayer and devotion to God had resulted in a deep-held conviction that he would see the Messiah, the king who God had promised would come to save Israel. Perhaps Simeon was surprised to find himself declaring that this was not only Israel’s saviour, but would bring the light of understanding to non-Jews as well.
We, too, often pray with firmly held beliefs in God’s power and promises, often with specific requests and answers in mind. Sometimes we may even have a deep knowledge of how God is going to answer our prayers. Most importantly, let us follow Simeon’s example, learning to look at God and see Him for who He is, with a sense of expectation in our hearts.

Lord Jesus, open my eyes and heart to truly see you in all your glory. To see you when my eyes have no hope in them and my heart is hurting; to see you when life is good and I am happy. Keepme looking, Lord. Amen.

Written for Bob Rasmussen at 42 days of expectation

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