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ADVENT 2019 | Light of the World

12.23.19 | Advent | by Dave Dietz

ADVENT 2019 | Light of the World

    December the 23rd finds us once again in the Gospel of Luke chapter 2, verses 22-38:

    When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the 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 on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 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 may now dismiss Your servant in peace.
    For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
    which You have prepared in the sight of all nations:
    a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of Your people Israel.”

    The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

    There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had 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.

    Both Simeon and Anna recognized the child, Jesus, as their Messiah. But, as Simeon said, He is also “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.” Jesus is the Messiah for us all. Won't you give Him your heart tonight, please?

    I know that this is going to date me but, I love the music of Michael Card, especially his song Now that I've Held Him in my Arms. It's the story of Simeon, found in the passage we just read. Simeon “was righteous and devout.” (Luke 2:25). God had revealed to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah. On Jesus' eighth day, according to the Law of Moses, it was time to have Him circumcised at the temple. Simeon was there:

    Simeon takes the Boy and starts to sing:
    "Now that I've held Him in my arms,
    my life can come to an end.
    Let Your servant now depart in peace
    cause I've seen Your salvation,
    He's the Light of the Gentiles,
    and the glory of His people, Israel.”

    Now's the time to take Him in your arms,
    your life will never come to an end.
    He's the only way that you'll find peace,
    He'll give you salvation,
    He's the light of the Gentiles,
    and the glory of His people, Israel."

    This is a wonderful song. Read that last verse again:

    Now's the time to take Him in your arms,
    your life will never come to an end.
    He's the only way that you'll find peace,
    He'll give you salvation,
    He's the light of the Gentiles,
    and the glory of His people, Israel."

    Jesus took the death that we deserve and in exchange, He gave us eternal life. It’s a gift, the priceless gift of God’s grace to all of us, to everyone. But as with any gift, it isn’t yours unless you accept it, until you accept it. Won’t you please do that, today. You never know what tomorrow will bring. I did not expect to be in an auto accident just over six years ago that has permanently disabled me. Your life can change, or end, in an instant. Please accept the gift of God’s grace that He has offered you. Remember, He's the only way that you'll find peace.