Friday’s sermon by Pastor Barry (our RCA pastor at the PCO) was based on Isaiah 61:10-62:3 and Luke 2:22-40, with more focus on the NT passage. A lot of our congregation were missing due to vacation break, so I thought I’d put this up for any of you that missed it. It’s an appropriate sermon as we come out of the Christmas season and head into the New Year.
Christmas Day 2011 is history. over. done. It’s sad that the joy of Christmastime for many is over. By the time the gifts have been opened, the tree put away and dinner is done, we are exhausted. Many have truly forgotten how to truly celebrate and savor the excitement even after the day of Christmas is over. Let’s look at what we might do to keep the flame alive. One good way would be to look at the story of Simeon and Anna for clues as to how we can respond.
Simeon’s response is still used in Christian worship in liturgy as an “attitude of gratitude”.
Anna was married only 7 years and then widowed for many years. She didn’t just lose hope but trusted in God and rested in His hope. Sorrow and suffering are indeed a part of life.
I’m glad that the Pastor mentioned the significance of Joseph and Mary presenting a pair of doves or two young pigeons. This quote from Leviticus 12:8 shows that they were actually poor! (I’ve heard crazy sermons on the so-called “God TV” saying that Jesus’ family was rich due to the gold brought to them as a justification of the health-wealth-prosperity false gospel going around these days!) God not only humbled Himself in coming as the Christ infant and living life for 33 years as one of us, He was born into a poor family! Not in a golden palace to live a life of comfort and ease!
Simeon and Anna do not look back nostalgically to the past but instead they recognize in Jesus the fulfillment of their hope.
“Leaning into the future with hope“…I like that!
True Hope is not just wishful thinking or naive optimism (just as “sending positive vibes” is not quite the same as “prayer”!) but based on the promises of God!
Wait, watch and hope. It is not over.
Happy New Year, everyone! To those of you who’ve had a fabulous 2011, all praise and glory to God! To those of us who’ve had major obstacles, all out defeats, and serious struggles, please don’t lose heart. Keep your eyes fixed above. God is NOT done with you (or me) yet!!!