This past Sunday marked the beginning of Advent – a time where we focus on the coming of Christ. The four Sundays leading up to Christmas are the perfect time to stop focusing on the secular side of Christmas and focus on the Messiah’s birth and life.
Growing up in the Catholic church, I loved this time of year. The church beautifully decorated, the candles from the Advent wreath lit, and the Christmas worship songs played. What joy this brought to a child who was caught up in everything Christmas!
Unfortunately, in today’s church, some choose not to focus on Advent, so I took it upon myself to start my own Advent tradition and study the Birth of Christ and His life on my own.
You’ve probably seen the social media graphic: “Beginning December 1st, read one chapter of the Gospel of Luke. There are 24 chapters, and by Christmas Eve, you will have read the entire account of the life of Christ.” I started reading on December 1st and have found many things that I have often overlooked. In addition to this, I’ve been leading an online small group through Max Lucado’s book, “Because of Bethlehem” for Proverbs 31 Ministries. By participating in both of these, I am preparing my heart for the coming of the Savior.
Waiting with Adoration and Hope
In Luke 2, the first twenty-one verses are dedicated to the birth of Christ. The census and the travel, the angels and the shepherds, and most importantly, the humble birth of the Savior.
For me, that’s where the chapter ends, and I skim the rest of the text until I get to the part of the 12-year-old Jesus in the temple, teaching and asking questions that normal 12-year-old boys would not be asking during that time period. After all, what is the importance of Mary and Joseph presenting Jesus at the temple? They did what was customary at the time.
The Lord has reminded me of His Word:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
Yesterday, I focused on those usually skimmed-over verses, and my eyes and heart were open in a new way with one little word – Simeon.
We don’t have the full story of this gentle, righteous, and devout older man, but what we do know is this “it had been revealed to him, by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” Luke 2:26
I’m sure day after day, Simeon would go into the temple in hopes of seeing the Messiah, until one day it finally happened.
A simple couple and infant were coming into the temple to offer a sacrifice “according to what was said in the law of the Lord” Luke 2:24.
While scripture doesn’t say how Simeon reacted when he made contact with them, it reveals a detail that I have overlooked many times.
“He took him up in his arms and blessed God…” Luke 2:28a
Simeon not only saw the Lord’s Christ; he physically held Baby Jesus.
The Lord not only fulfilled His promise Simeon but took it a step further, allowing him to adore the Savior of the world in his arms.
What a sight that must have been!
While we cannot physically hold the infant Savior, we can still worship Him with our hearts, minds, and souls.
Take time this Advent season to sit and rest on the Word. While we are already a few days into December, it’s not too late to start reading the Gospel of Luke. I encourage you to take your time and soak up the Word. You will be amazed at what the Lord will reveal to you!
Now is the time to adore Him!