Focal passage: Luke 2:25-35
I love celebrating Christmas and New Years! To say they are my favorite times of year, is an understatement. When I think about the magnitude of the birth of Christ and what it means to me as a believer, coupled with the excitement of starting a new year brings great joy and hope into my life.
Honestly, just getting up every morning brings me hope and joy, but during Christmas time I feel like Simeon in our lesson. In Luke 2:25-35, Simeon was promised he would not see death until he saw the Christ child (v. 26). The Bible tells us that when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to Simeon he took Him in his arms and blessed God!
Of course, I have never seen Jesus physically, but like Simeon, I praise God that I have encountered the living Christ by faith and have received Him into my life as Savior and Lord.
For many people hope and joy are not a consistent part of their lives. Even as a young Christian, I struggled thinking hope and joy was based on how well I performed for Jesus. If I was doing all the Christian things such as witnessing, having a quiet time and going to church, I thought God loved me more. But, when I failed to do those things I thought God didn’t love me as much, and my joy and hope would dissipate.
Over the years, I have learned that God’s love for me is not based on how good I am, but on the finished work of His Son, Jesus. He still wants me to do those things, but His love for me is an act of grace and not of my works. So now, when I set my New Year’s resolutions and do not complete them, I just laugh and laugh and laugh.
Don’t get me wrong, I still want to grow as a Christian, but I have tried living the Christian life in my own strength and trust me, I like Jesus’ way a whole lot better.