1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26 (Psalm 148); Colossians 3:12-17; Luke 2:41-52
Isaiah 61:10-62:3 (Psalm 148); Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:22-40
Isaiah 63:7-9; Psalm 148; Hebrews 2:10-18; Matthew 2:13-23
A study done a few years ago showed that a sign of a person’s incompetence is his or her inability to perceive incompetence. Nowhere does this inability to have an objective, accurate, reality-based view of our performance show itself more than in the spiritual realm. When it comes to moral character, purity of heart or duplicity in actions, how many of us have given serious thought to how our lives would be graded in the eyes of a holy, just, righteous, truth-telling God?
Simeon offers a subtle instruction to Mary: remember the cross.
Once a year, having waited to the very end of December, my wife and I dress up. Some people wait a lifetime to start living, but fortunately for us, New Year’s Eve intervenes every year. With mortality staring us right in the face, we get around to that date we should have had months ago. Rexene looks absolutely stunning in a cocktail dress. (How many times does a pastor’s wife get to wear a cocktail dress?)
Waiting and fidelity are closely connected.
On Christmas day we join choirs of angels and raise the strains of “Joy to the World!” Our children sing sweetly of the little Lord Jesus so peacefully asleep on the hay that he doesn’t cry out when animals wake him with off-key parts to the lullaby. But then the music changes drastically. We hear wailing and loud lamentation. Ancient mother Rachel weeps inconsolably over the loss of her children. Must we listen to this? Have we no season to block out the sounds of grief?
In the pattern of Jesus’ growing is the pattern to which each of us is called. Even the irony that he first became lost before he experienced this first growing—even this has meaning for every Christian. We live at a time when it is easy to feel lost. Our time and world are daunting and even defeating. But that very lostness can be the prelude to our personal growing.
Picture the old man with the baby in his arms. He stands chuckling with giddy joy, or perhaps he gazes with streaming tears on his cheeks, or is lost in transfixed wonder. He says that this is enough now, he is ready to die. He has seen salvation and he can depart in peace. But what has he seen, really?