…My Savior Whom He Promised and I Have Longed to See!” The title of this post came from the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” an English Christmas Carol first published in England in 1780, as a poem and is believed to be French in origin. In 1909, it was made into a song by Frederic Austin; with the tune we are familiar with (See WIKIPEDIA). The first sentence of this post comes from the prophesies of Simeon and Anna, recorded in the Gospel of Luke. Let us go to the source of God’s Truth, the Holy Scriptures, and see what happened on the eighth day of that very first Christmas:
“On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise Him, He was named Jesus, the name the angel had given Him before He had been conceived. When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem to present Him to Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord’), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: ‘a pair of doves or two young pigeons.’ Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the Child Jesus to do for Him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying:
‘Sovereign Lord, as You have promised,
You now dismiss Your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen Your Salvation,
Which You have prepared in the sight of all people,
A Light for revelation to the Gentiles
And for the glory of Your people Israel.’
…There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Ashur. She was very old; she lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 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. When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:21-32, 36-40).
In this passage of Scripture, Luke describes four faithful worshipers of God. Mary and Joseph were a poor peasant couple who were given the unfathomable responsibility of parenting God’s Only Begotten Son. They faithfully carried out what the Lord’s Law required and dedicated Jesus to the Lord when He was eight days old. They probably sacrifices two young pigeons because they were less expensive than doves, which was a provision made in the Lord’s Law and was an acceptable sacrifice for the poor to offer. The sight of Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus was not anything out of the ordinary and would not make people stop and take notice. However, two very old people knew better. Simeon knew at first sight that Jesus was the One he waited so long to see. Simeon knew that Jesus was the Messiah, the Light to the Gentiles and the Glory of Israel; the Salvation for all mankind. Simeon could now die in His peace. Anna also knew, a woman older than Simeon, that Salvation entered the temple on that eighth day. Both of them prophesied about Jesus, the Savior and Lord everyone was waiting for.
But, did anyone pay attention to the poor peasant couple and their new born Son? Did anyone pay attention to the old man and older woman who were mere fixtures, like furniture, in the temple by now? Perhaps the temple goers learned to turn a deaf ear whenever they spoke up and prophesied. I imagine, just as in the case of the shepherds who had no say and could not even be used as reliable witnesses in court, the peasant family and the old man and woman had gone unnoticed by the majority and were brushed aside because they had more “important” matters to attend to. This may have been the case with the people; BUT GOD did notice these faithful worshipers. God bless the peasant family and made them a “Holy Family” – a family “set apart” for Himself. God honored Simeon’s and Anna’s patient endurance and trust that God’s promise would come true in His perfect time. And so it did:
“But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave [to sin], but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir” (Galatians 4:4-7).
If there is one thing I am not good at doing, it is WAITING. I can’t stand waiting. I also can’t stand being IGNORED As a person with cerebral palsy, I have to wait a lot for other people to do things for me. It would be so much better and faster if I could do IT myself. There some well-meaning Christians who tell me I don’t have to wait to be healed, but I just have to attend healing services, be prayed over, and just believe and I will be healed. This does not help me with my problem with waiting. However, God has given me the faith to believe that He is healing me and that, someday, I will be totally healed. I also believe and trust God for my healing in His time. As a person with cerebral palsy, I am also ignored. Some people just don’t want to deal with my slurred speech, so they will either ask the person I’m with about me or just pretend I’m not present. WAITING, HAVING PEOPLE PUT THEIR HANDS ON ME (especially during flu season) and BEING IGNORED makes me want to “SPIT NAILS!”
I have a lot to learn from Mary and Joseph and Simeon and Anna. All four waited patiently for the Lord. Mary and Joseph obeyed God and did what was seemingly impossible to do. They knew “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26b). Simeon and Anna waited a long time for the promised Messiah. They may have been in their nineties or over one hundred years old. Yet, they would go to the temple, day after day, expecting God’s promise to be fulfilled. They were rewarded for their patient endurance. All four faithful followers of God cared more about what God said to them, rather than what man said or thought of them. This is also my desire: to care more about what God says to me than what people think of me. God says that I may call Him “Abba, Daddy” because I am His child.
In some church services the people recite the response, “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again!” As Christians, followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, we know that Jesus was born of Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit. We know that He lived a perfect life. We know that Jesus died for the sins of the world. We know that Jesus rose again. We know that Jesus is now seated at the Right Hand of God. Finally, we know that Jesus is coming again to “judge the living and the dead” (See Apostles’ Creed). As Mary and Joseph and Simeon and Anna, I pray that we all will faithfully and faithfully wait for Christ’s Return. Amen.
“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill? I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot change it” (Numbers 23:19-20).
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9)
Battle Hymn of the Republic
By Julia Ward Howe
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword –
His truth is marching on.
(Refrain) Glory! Glory, hallelujah! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.
I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps –
His day is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never sound retreat,
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
O be swift. My soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.
May 2014 be the year we put more of our focus on what is “unseen”, rather on than what is seen. HAPPY NEW YEAR ONE AND ALL!
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is already to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you HAVE NOT SEEN HIM, you love Him; and even though you DO NOT SEE HIM NOW, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls”
(I Peter 1:3-9).