Just ahead is the observance of Christmas. As with so many things, we can make of it what we wish to. I am reminded that in the same way that we are eagerly anticipating the return of the rightful king to fulfill all that to which the Sabbath has pointed from the very beginning, some, perhaps many, were eagerly anticipating His first advent. Oh yes, many looked for a military deliverance from the power of Rome, but listen to Simeon, an aged Israelite, who encountered the baby Jesus in the temple:
“Now a man named Simeon was in Jerusalem. This man was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the one who would comfort Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.” Luke 2:25-32 (ISV)
Led by the Spirit, he went into the Temple. When the parents brought the child Jesus to do for him what was customary under the Law,
“Simeon took the infant in his arms and praised God, saying, ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace according to your promise. Because my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared for all people to see—a light that will reveal salvation to the gentiles and bring glory to your people Israel.’”
My eyes have seen His salvation also, as have yours. Better yet, we have tasted His salvation in a way that Simeon perhaps could not.
Recently I have been much blessed by the well-known carol “O little town of Bethlehem.” In the second half of the first verse are the interesting words, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.” Everyone alive that day (or night) possessed a mixture of hope (positive expectation) and/or fear (negative expectation) concerning their individual concerns. All those fears found comfort and relief because the Baby was born. All those hopes found fulfillment as people looked where the shepherds looked.
Isaiah 40:1-2 (ISV) “’Comfort! Yes, comfort my people,’ says your God. ‘Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her heavy service has been completed, that her penalty has been paid, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.’”
Romans 15:12-13 (ASV) “And again, Isaiah says, ‘There shall be the root of Jesse, and He that arises to rule over the Gentiles; on Him shall the Gentiles hope.’ Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Shabbat Shalom, and a blessed Nativity remembrance also.