Tuesday, December 27, 2011

This Christmas: Wait... There's More to the Story


Have you ever enjoyed a movie in the theater, watched the credits roll, then stand to leave, when all of a sudden, a new scene begins? You quickly take your seat, realizing, "Oh great, there's more!"

Well, today's blog is kind of like that. I thought I had completed my retelling of Luke's retelling of the Christmas story... Until I read a little more of the story.

Why don't you step back into Luke's narrative with me? There are a few more treasures just waiting for us to discover them. Follow me. I'll show you the way.

After the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, following the dictates of Jewish law, took Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. I just love the two elderly folks that stepped forward to bless Jesus at the Temple. Let's take a closer look at them in Luke chapter 2.



Simeon was "righteous and devout.. and the Holy Spirit was upon him." (vs. 25) The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die before He had seen the Christ. I love the uninhibited vigor of Simeon when he laid eyes on the Christ-child. The scriptures say he "took him in his arms and praised God..." (vs. 28) Can you imagine the old fellow reaching out to wrap the infant Jesus in His arms? I'll bet in his excitement and joy, he abandoned all decorum and politeness.

This makes me wonder... Do we approach Jesus with the same vigor and joy? Do we run to Him with reckless abandonment, unconcerned about following the "rules" of modern Christianity? Do we approach Him without reservation?

In my personal time with the Lord, I have no problem crying until I'm a soppy, pathetic mess. Sometimes I get so carried away, I praise Him at the top of my lungs. At times I dance, I bow down to the floor, I jump up and down as high as I can. I know I look like a lunatic, but I don't care. That's just how He moves me some days.

On the other hand, in church (where I sit in the very front, thanks to my pastor-husband) my praise sometimes lacks the freedom of my personal praise sessions. Could I be more concerned with what others think than what God thinks? How about you?

Another thing I love about Simeon: he walked in such fellowship with God that he followed His every word. Verse 27 tells us, "Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts." He immediately obeyed, his obedience leading to His promised meeting with the Christ-child.

Do we walk with God this way? Are our ears constantly open to His promptings, His lessons, His direction? Or do we do our own thing, consulting Him when we're in trouble or need?

Oh, may we have hearts like Simeon -- constantly seeking His Word. And may we keep our hearts open to receive specific guidance from Him. He loves to speak to His children. May we have ears to hear.

I also love Anna, the prophetess. She happens to be one of my favorite Ladies in the Bible. This mature woman reminds us that life ain't over 'til it's over. In her seasoned years, this widow "never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying." (vs. 37) This sister spent her life worshiping God and spending time with Him. Can you imagine the depth of relationship she enjoyed with Him? Wow.

Do we pray without ceasing? Do we meditate on His law day and night? Do we want to live for Him solely and wholly?

I love Anna's passion to spread the Good News of Christ. "Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem." (Verse 38)

During this Christmas season, have we told others about Christ? I have to admit to some fear this year. I was tempted to tell people "happy holidays," not wanting to offend any non-Christians. But that lasted less than a day. I quickly returned to my usual "Merry Christmas" to every bank-teller, cashier and stranger on the street. I figured if I offended someone, I'd just have to deal with it on the back end.

This Christmas season and New Year, I'm choosing to say His name as much as I can. I am not ashamed. I love the name of Jesus Christ. It's the sweetest name I know!

Dedicating My Life, My All,

Carla

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