The Complete Gift
Good morning from Westminster, MD!
As of today we are officially one week from Christmas. As a child, I remember this being one of my favorite weeks of the year. The wait was almost over and I could barely contain my excitement. I can remember trying to sit through the last few days of school before Christmas break, trying to pretend I was concentrating on what the teacher was saying while I was dreaming of what would be under the Christmas tree. Much like Ralphie, the main character in one of my favorite Christmas movies “A Christmas Story”, I spent my days wondering if I was going to get that one gift that would make my life complete (this year). As a kid, Christmas, and the weeks before it, was all about the gifts and the perceived joy they would bring to my life.
In the story of the birth and early life of Jesus, we can read about a guy who had been similarly waiting for something he believed would complete his life. The man’s name was Simeon and according Luke’s account of the life of Jesus he had been waiting quite a few years to receive his gift. In fact, it says that God had told him he would see the Messiah, the savior of the world, before he died. It was the day Jesus’ parents brought Jesus to the temple for the purification rites required in Jewish law that Simeon received what he had been waiting for. As Luke describes it, Simeon was at the temple that day and, through the work of the Holy Spirit, immediately knew that Jesus was the answer to the promise. It says that when Simeon saw Jesus, he took him in his arms and proclaimed, “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 2:29-32, NIV) As Simeon says, not only was this the answer to the promise God had made to him, it was the answer to the promise Isaiah and other prophets spoke about hundreds of years before. This was truly a gift worth waiting for.
It is my hope that I can see Christmas through the eyes of people like Simeon and with the same heart that brought so much excitement when I was a child. Unlike the gifts I received when I was a kind (and still today), the gift that arrived in the form of Jesus Christ truly does complete my life. All of the joy and fulfillment that I seek can be found in the ultimate Christmas gift, the Messiah who came to save the world. I want to be intentional about reflecting on this truth during this week leading up to Christmas. I believe we are all looking for a gift that will bring unending joy and completeness, and have been since the days we asked Santa for the one special present to end all presents each year. What if all of those feelings and desires are really pointing to one gift? What if we are all like Simeon, searching for the Messiah who can bring completeness to our lives? What if this year could be the year you finally find what you have been looking for your whole life? Seems like something worth considering to me.
– James Belt