Michelle Bauer ~ Finding Joy and Peace this Christmas Week
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. 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.”
There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. – Luke 2:21-33, 36-38
Christmas is almost here! Thinking backing over the last few weeks, when have you felt the most peaceful? When have you felt the most stress or anxiety? As you think ahead to the coming week, what are you looking forward to? What, if anything, are you dreading? Offer those things into God’s care.
Christmas Eve: The whole world waits today for God’s peace to enter the world in the form of a baby. Place yourself in the story and imagine what Mary and Joseph must have experienced as the time drew closer. What do you notice?
Christmas Day: “The Lord is come!” Simeon and Anna were so overwhelmed by Jesus’ birth that they burst into prophetic praise to God. What would you like to express to God about his great gift?
Wednesday: Despite the extraordinary circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph take great care to follow the Law. What do you learn from their example? How do you imagine this experience at the temple affected Mary and Joseph?
Thursday: In what ways does Simeon demonstrate peace in waiting? What is something that you are waiting for? In what ways have you experienced peace as you wait? In what moments has peace been hard to find?
Friday: Instead of losing hope, Anna spent her life worshiping, fasting, and praying. How do these practices affect our peace? Consider the ways in your life in which you worship. What is fulfilling and what needs adjusting?
Saturday: What are your hopes and expectations for the New Year? Offer these to God and ask him to sustain you. May God give you his peace in 2019!
Leave this quiet time resting in the peace that Jesus came to bring.