First Sunday after Christmas – Simeon and Anna Luke 2:22-40
As Americans, we are an impatient group, especially when it comes to satisfying our own wants. We not only want to see the process of gaining our satisfaction begin, we want to see it fulfilled— now. With the financial challenges of today, some of us even find it hard to remember that God really is in control and has promised that our NEEDS will be met. Some of the heroes of the Bible are a little hard to understand from our “unique” perspective. Today, we read of Simeon and Anna. These two devoted followers of God waited almost all of their lives to see the Savior come. It was their greatest desire. God granted them a special knowledge that the time was close. When they saw Jesus, the babe, they joyfully glorified God for allowing them to see the Messiah. They did not see salvation won on the cross, nor the resurrection, nor the beginning of the church, yet, they were confident, and at peace, even though these things were not yet complete.
The hardest part of trusting God is genuinely believing that what He promises will happen, whether we see it or not. Simeon and Anna did not question God’s faithfulness, love, or ability. Trusting God as their Advocate, rather than trusting themselves for the answers to all of life, meant that they could know peace – as we hear in worship, “May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds…” That trusting peace meant that they did not have to say, “We’ll wait to see if this child turns out to be the Messiah.” They understood that they were not in control of the situation, and that this was appropriate, because God was in control.
God is still in control of the situation, no matter what it is. He is able to grant us the gift of peace, of knowing that He is better able than we to lead us through life. We can know the peace of Simeon and Anna, know that God is trustworthy, but it is not easy. It means leaning on God instead of ourselves. Through Christ, this trust can be a reality.
Is reading the Bible a part of your Christmas celebration? (A message from your Iowa District West Christian Education Committee)
First Sunday after Christmas Luke 2:22-40
1. We’re only a few days past Christmas. How many days past Jesus’ birthday did the story in our text take place? What significant Jewish rituals took place on this day? Why was it important for Jesus to participate in those rituals?
2. Who was Simeon? How did he respond to Jesus? What do we learn from Simeon’s response?
3. Who was Anna? How did she respond to Jesus? What do we learn from Anna’s response?
4. Luke’s Gospel goes from the Presentation to Jesus being twelve years old (vs. 42). What simple statement does Luke give on Jesus’ childhood? What significant event in Jesus’ childhood does Luke’s gospel leave out? (Matthew 2) For Family
5. What do you think Jesus’ childhood was like? How may His childhood been like ours? How may it have been different?
6. This story quickly takes us from the stable to another setting. How do we keep from so quickly forgetting about Jesus’ birth? How do we keep celebrating in our home and in our church?