Week of December 22, 2019
Song of Simeon
21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Jesus Presented at the Temple
22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant[e] depart in peace,
according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
The Comfort and Pain of Our Salvation:
In v.29-32 Simeon sings of a glorious redemption that'll be witnessed by the world. He celebrates because this baby boy he holds in his hands will be salvation for many.
But in v.34-35 Simeon warns that this glorious redemption will come at a heavy price. For although this baby boy he holds in his hands will save many, he'll also be responsible for the fall of many and will one day suffer and die.
As you reflect on your own salvation, in what ways has Christ presences in your life brought you comfort this year?
On the other hand, in what ways has Christ presence in your life drouth you pain or opposition this year?
Prayer: Lord, teach me to celebrate and find comfort in your salvation. Thank you for saving from wrath and giving me life eternal. Prepare me for when my life in Christ gets difficult and I'm tempted to walk away. Help me to never forget that you are worthy of my life and it'll be worth it when I see you again. Amen.
Week of December 15, 2019
Song of Angels
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
The song of the angels gives us three ways we are to respond to the reality of the birth of Jesus.
“Hear Well” Luke shows us that it is easy to hear but not hear the word of God. How well are you hearing the Christmas message? How well are you pondering it, connecting it, thinking about it?
“Fear Not” The angel declares that we no longer have to fear anything in life when we grasp the grace of Christ. However, the reality is many of us don’t fully trust God and we try to be our own saviors, which only produces more fear. Do you sense fear, worry or anxiety in your life? Are you trusting in who Christ is and what he has done?
“Have Peace” what we really need is the peace under the peace. In other words, we do not really need a life of tranquility, but what we really need is for our broken relationship with God restored. This is true peace, and true peace is possible because of a baby born in the city of David, lying in the manger, who is Jesus Christ the Lord. Are you experiencing this profound peace daily?
Prayer: Lord, help me to hear, and think about what you are saying so that I may grasp the reality of Christmas. Help me to trust that you know what you are doing, even when my circumstances appear difficult because I need you. And I know if I have you, I have true peace. Thank you Lord for coming to the earth, and loving me. In Jesus name, Amen.
Week of December 8, 2019
67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us[h] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Zechariah praises God for his redemptive visitation. A visitation that was predicted by prophets, promised to fathers, and a visitation that would be prepared by his very own son- John the baptist.
"Predicted by prophets" reveals God's sovereignty over history. How does knowing that God is in complete control of human history comfort you or concern you?
"Promised by fathers" reveals God's integrity. God always does what he says he will do. What promises has God made to you through his word?
"Prepared by John the Baptist" reveals God's desire to partner with us in his redemptive story. Like John the Baptist, we are invited to introduce people to Christ by declaring the gospel (forgiveness of sin). With so many opportunities to see friends and family this Christmas season, what can you do to share Christ with someone who needs him?
Prayer: Lord, help me slow down this Christmas and understand that no matter what I'm facing, you're in control, you always keep your promises, and you invite me to be a part of your story. Help me to share the gospel with someone who needs you this Christmas. In Jesus name, Amen.
Week of December 1, 2019
Mary's Song of Praise: The Magnificat
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
Mary’s soul magnifies God as savior by declaring him to be Holy, Merciful, and Mighty. This week reflect on this...
Because he is holy, he had to do something about our sin. Because he is merciful he wanted to do something about our sin. Because he was mighty he was able to do something about our sin.
1. How did this change the way Mary sees God? Mary sees herself?
2. How does this change the way you see God? How does this change the way you see yourself?
Prayer: Lord, Like Mary, teach my soul to magnify you and teach my spirit to rejoice in you as savior. May I see you as holy and may I see myself as humbled. Amen.