Category Archives: Christmas

“For my eyes have seen your Salvation”

I don’t know about you, but I had hoped that this week, building up to Christmas day would be a quiet one. I was quite happy we had made our plans for the week a while ago and we were organised enough to buy and wrap our presents, order the food, get the house sorted. Little did we know that so many things would change and that we, like everybody else in the country, would have to revise our plans and just be thankful for what we can do instead of complain about the things we can’t.

Needless to say there are many people feeling lonely, hurt and frustrated as we approach the day we are to celebrate the birth of our Saviour. Perhaps cooking the Christmas meal for one or only a couple of people is not worth the effort. Perhaps exchanging presents at a later date won’t have the same “magic feeling”. Watching the Queen’s speech, or any other program, alone is not as good or entertaining. Maybe the church service online won’t feel like church on Christmas day. It certainly is a different day and I am sure we will have many things to talk about in years to come as we look back at this time.

The one thing we can be sure about is that Christmas will never change and can never be stopped. I am talking about the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Jesus became our Immanuel and He came to save us.

On my last post we talked about the Magi coming to see Jesus when he was a toddler and how they worshiped Him. As I continued my Christmas readings in Luke 2 I came across the passage that tells us Mary and Joseph present Jesus in the temple. The person we meet today is Simeon. Simeon was an old man who is described as being devout and righteous. He was full of the Holy Spirit and a promise had been made to him: he would not die before he had seen and he had been waiting for a long time for a promise, God’s promised king.

25 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. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Luke 2:25-26

I wondered as I read, would I have had the same faith Simeon had? He was still following God’s law and was going to the temple, living his life the best way he could to please God. How long would he live? When was this king coming? Those would certainly be some of the questions I would be asking. We are told the Spirit moved Simeon to go to the temple and when Mary and Joseph take Jesus there this is what happens:

27 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, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” Luke 2:27-32

When Simeon took Jesus in his arms he recognised Him as the King God had promised in the Old Testament. He knew this child was going to bring salvation to Jews and Gentiles. Simeon understood who Jesus was and why He had come.

Simeon also understood that Jesus was going to be spoken against and that not all would recognise and accept Him. He knew Jesus was going to have to suffer to accomplish His mission:

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.

Even as I am reading these verses again and as I write this post I wonder how many of us will be thanking God that He sent his precious Son to be the saviour of the world. Do we understand what that means? Are we willing to let the Holy Spirit work in us so that we celebrate and recognise Jesus for who He is? Simeon only had the promises of the Old Testament and the law to go by. We have the entire Bible which reveals God’s plan to save us from the beginning all the way to the end. Will we be saying “My eyes have seen your Salvation”? May we be prepared to receive and celebrate king Jesus. May our hearts be filled with the joy only those who recognise how much our salvation cost can have. We celebrate Jesus’s birth so that Easter could take place and on that cross Jesus paid the price to redeem those who will put their trust in Him. May we be ready today, tomorrow and every day to recognise Jesus as the Saviour.

This year might be different, our meals might be quieter than usual, presents might be delayed, but God’s Salvation and hope has come. The king came for me and for you.

God bless.

We have come to worship the King

There are some really interesting people in the story of Christmas. We have Mary and Joseph, baby Jesus (who is, the Son of God), the shepherds, the angels who were there on that night Jesus was born. You might be thinking to yourself: what about the three kings? The wise men!

Well, they were not there, despite the fact Nativity sets include them. The Bible introduces them in Matthew chapter 2. Mary, Joseph and Jesus are not in the stable any more and Jesus was most likely a toddler:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

What I find interesting about these men is that they were pagans. They were probably astrologers and some even believe they were involved with sorcery or black magic. The Bible does not tell us how they knew to expect or even recognise this king was the king of the Jews, but God in his mighty plan, used creation to show them where to go. “We saw his star”. God surprises us again. We might have thought He would bring the priests or teachers of the law, no. He brought foreigners, from a distant land, people that practiced things that were forbidden for the Jews in the law of Moses. They answered His call by following the star. Not only that, they said to Herod in verse 2 “(we) have come to worship him”.

God is sovereign and He has all the power and authority to bring to Him whom he wills. We very often make assumptions about people that we think will never be able or willing to recognise Jesus as their king. We forget that it is God himself who brings people to him. In Isaiah chapter 60:3-6, we get the picture that people will come from every nation to worship the promised King.

Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.“Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip. Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you,
 to you the riches of the nations will come. Herds of camels will cover your land,
 young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord.

How extraordinary, even as Jesus’s story on Earth was just beginning, what was written about Him many years earlier, in the Bible, was now being fulfilled and we often miss this precious detail.

The Magi told Herod they wanted to worship the King of the Jews and that is what they did when they arrived at the house where Jesus was. Verse 11 of Matthew 2 says “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh“.

Many start their journey wanting to worship king Jesus and get distracted along the way. Here we see they actually bowed down before Him. I find it hard to imagine what it must have felt like – to kneel before THE KING OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE.

Thinking about these characters who play this important part in the story makes me realise that Jesus did come for those in darkness, those that are sinners, those that are broken, those that are lost. He came for me, He came for you. The Magi recognised Jesus as king, by bowing down to Him they recognise His authority and rule. Do I recognise that? Do you? This is a good time to ponder over these important questions and if the answer is “Yes”, praise Him for that, for your faith and mine is a gift from Him and may He continue to bring us back to His throne and may we continue to bow down to His authority and rule over our hearts. If the answer is “No”, may I encourage you to read the rest of the story and consider Jesus, his life, his death and His rule. The time is now – do not delay.

One thing about me is that I love music and how it brings us closer to God and makes us think about who He is and what He has done for us. Whilst you think about the wonders of the Christmas story and this mighty King Jesus, listen to this invitation from this beautiful song called O Come, All You Unfaithful from Sovereign Grace Music.