It’s Christmas Eve. The whole world will stop this weekend to celebrate the birthday of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, whether they realize it or recognize it. Jesus is the reason for the season.
We will celebrate the birth of a child born over 2,000 years ago. Have you ever just paused to take in that thought? Who else do you know has that kind of clout? No celebrity, no king, no person in history, besides Jesus, is celebrated so widely.
Sometime after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph took Him to the temple to present Him to the Lord. This was part of Jewish tradition and law.
“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.” Luke 2:22-24
Upon arriving at the temple, they met a man named Simeon, who is described as “righteous and devout”. When he saw baby Jesus, Simeon was overcome with joy:
“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.” Luke 2:28-32
Simeon had been filled with the Holy Spirit and knew that this child was not just a normal Jewish child, but that He was special, He was the Messiah he had been waiting for (Luke 2:26).
As parents, one of the greatest blessings is to hear people sing the praises of our children. It says that Mary and Joseph marveled at what Simeon said about Jesus. I can just imagine them, holding their bundle of joy, presenting Him at the temple, when this wise old man, respected, and known for his faithfulness to God, bursts out with words of joy and praise for their baby boy.
What parent wouldn’t love to hear such great things about their son? Simeon goes on to tell them that their son, Jesus, is destined to do great things:
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, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke 2:34-35
Knowing what the prophecies said about the Messiah, they knew what Simeon said was true. And while in that moment they just wanted to cling to and nurture their sweet newborn child, they knew He had a greater purpose here on earth. He was born to die, so that we may live (1 Timothy 1:15).
As parents, when our children are born, we tend to envision what they will be when they grow up. Will they be a doctor, a teacher, a pastor, a veterinarian, an accountant, an electrician? We don’t know what they will ultimately do, and it doesn’t really matter, as long as they find joy and success in life, right?
How many of you envision your child being one who gives his or her life up for the well-being of others? How many of you imagine your son or daughter dying for someone else?
I don’t know about you, but it would be near impossible for me to think about that, and to know that that’s my child’s fate, his destiny.
I want my children to do great things, but I don’t want them to die for others.
This is where trust comes in. Trusting that God knows what’s best. Mary and Joseph knew that God had a plan and they trusted God.
Just as Jesus was destined to do great things, so are we.
When we choose to follow Jesus, and we place our trust in God, we become heirs of the throne:
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:17
Yes, when we give our lives to Jesus, we share not only in His sufferings, but also in His glory!
When we are born into the family of God, we become sons and daughters of God, and we too are destined for greatness!
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
We’re all going to die one day. That’s just how it goes. It’s every single person’s ultimate destiny. Our bodies are not made to last forever, but even though our physical body will eventually wear out, our spiritual bodies, our souls, will remain forever.
The important question to consider is, where will you go when you die? Do you know? If you have turned your life to Christ, then you have been given eternal life with Him:
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”” John 11:25-26
It is God’s desire that we would all turn back to Him, turn away from sin and death, turn away from evil. He doesn’t want anyone to die, but it is our choice.
“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.” Ezekiel 18:32
Even though Jesus was destined to die, it was determined that He would live. Even though man thought they could snuff Him out by hanging Him on a cross to die, they did not realize death could not overcome God’s power.
“And the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” Revelation 1:18
It is because Jesus lived and died and rose again, that we can celebrate Christmas today! It is because of Jesus that we have hope of a future, we can place our trust in God that our destiny is set and our eternity is secure.
If you haven’t already placed your trust in Him, I hope and pray that today will be the day that you give your life to God, and join me as a new brother or sister in Christ.
And parents, I pray that you can entrust your children to God in the same manner that Mary and Joseph entrusted Jesus to Him. I have always considered that my children, though placed in my care, are not mine at all, but have always and will always belong to God. He has entrusted me with them, to raise them up to love God.
If you were to ask my children what I want them to be when they grow up, they would most likely tell you that I just want them to seek after God. That is more important to me than anything else they decide to do. I tell them:
Seek after God, and everything else will fall into place.
To follow the whole series of Journey to Christmas, click here: https://jenniferjabbour.com/the-journey-to-christmas-advent-series/
What do you think?