DAY 24 |

CHRISTMAS EVE

Scripture Reading: Luke 1:35; Luke 3:21-22; Heb 4:14-16

35 The angel replied to her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
— Luke 1:35
21 When all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized. As he was praying, heaven opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in a physical appearance like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.”
— Luke 3:21-22
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.
— Hebrews 4:14-16

The Future of Christ –Anticipation - Salvation & Return

“Are we there yet?,” is the question that every child asks on a long trip. “Can’t we open just one present?,” is the question that every kid seems to ask on Christmas Eve.  It is easy to see why Christmas Eve is the one day of the year when anticipation overflows many hearts.

There is much to look forward to including  presents, family dinners and the chance to sit back and relax. However, is it really presents and family dinners we need to be looking forward to, or something more?

This passage in Luke 2 is centered on the theme of anticipation and fulfillment.  The first sense of anticipation begins not with Simeon but with God the Father.  Many centuries earlier, God had given his people in Israel the Law through Moses and instructed them to bring their firstborn sons to present them before the Lord and to offer a sacrifice.  When God gave this law, he already knew that one day it would be His Son that would be brought to the temple.  The obedience Joseph and Mary showed by taking their new baby boy to the temple in Jerusalem was the fulfillment of this anticipatory law.

Likewise, Simeon had learned by the Holy Spirit that he was to see the Lord’s Christ (anointed) in his lifetime, and that this baby was to be God’s salvation to man.  Simeon was very old and perhaps had been waiting many years for the fulfillment of this promise. The blessing he shared gave Joseph and Mary a marvelous sense of wonder to hear that Jesus was to be the way of salvation.  Yet, they could not have foreseen how eternally significant that promise was to be, for not even death would be able to hold the Son of God. 

As followers of Christ, we should hold the feeling of anticipation close to our hearts, just as Mary did. It’s Christmas Eve and anticipation is in the air! As we look forward to the celebration of the birth of our Savior, let’s reflect also on the wonder and joy that awaits us upon his return. Anticipate the return of Jesus! A baby no more.  A dead man on a cross no more, but our glorified Lord returned to judge the living and the dead, to give us the present of his presence and to gather the church for the most glorious family dinner of all time. Let the anticipation of Christmas morning fill your heart with excitement and yet lift your gaze beyond it, towards the long anticipated hope of Christ’s second coming. Come quickly Lord Jesus!   

 

Reflection Questions:

1.     What do you look forward to seeing in your own lifetime?

2.     How does the knowledge of the imminent return of Jesus change the way you live? Does the thought of God planning and anticipating the moment of Jesus’ birth change the way you think about tomorrow?

Family Activity: 

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Share things you are looking forward to.

  • Kids:  Share one thing you are looking forward to on Christmas Day and one thing you are looking forward to next year.  

  • Adults: Share one thing you are looking forward to on Christmas Day, one thing for next year, and one thing you look forward to seeing in your lifetime.