“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.’” – Luke 2:25-35
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth…. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” – John 1:14,18
“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
At the centerfold of the story is Jesus. The Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, who humbled himself to meet us in the middle. The Word, clothed in soft and pudgy flesh, came to dwell with us. God’s epic tale of salvation for the world is wrapped up in the wonder of a child.
When Simeon held Christ at the temple that day, the old man’s life was complete. Taking Jesus in his arms, Simeon saw the child for who he is –the one who holds the entire story in his hands. This little human was more than human. He would be the glory of God’s people, a light for those living in darkness. Generations would come and go, but ultimately the nations would praise him. For good reason, because he would make the entire story worth the journey.
The child’s parents marveled that day at what was said. This Christmas, we have reason to marvel too at all the extraordinary happenings that have already come to pass and that are promised in our future. The story is made possible through the birth, death, and resurrection of the Son of God. His sacrifice brought us grace and truth; salvation that made a relationship with God not only accessible, but eternal.
As we come to the end of Advent, we wish you a merry Christ-centered celebration of the birth of the king. May he fill your everyday life with hope, peace, joy, and love as you encourage those around you and eagerly anticipate his return.
Alpha and Omega, Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus and how you put on flesh for us. The story wouldn’t make sense without Christmas. Thank you for humbling yourself, staying true to your promises, and always being willing to meet us in the middle. We know that hope, peace, joy, love, and ultimately salvation is only possible through you. We marvel in that wonderous baby born in Bethlehem years ago, and ask that you would continue to extend grace and truth to us until the day we see your face again. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
› When you take time to really reflect on the Christmas story and Christ at the center of it, what gives you reason to marvel?
› What does God’s eternal promise of grace and truth mean in your life? How does knowing Jesus help you live here in the middle?
› What does it mean for you to celebrate Christmas and the gift of Christ this year? What hope, peace, joy, and love can you thank God for this Advent season?