I can remember growing up as a child and the anxiety that continued to build throughout the holiday season. The closer it got to Christmas, the more excited I became, until by Christmas Eve, I could hardly stand it. Part of me wanted to go to bed that night, while the rest of me wanted to pull an all-nighter.
Finally, when Christmas morning arrived, I jumped out of bed and rushed to the den to see if all my waiting and anticipating had paid off. Some years it did, and at other times I was sorely disappointed. (Oh to be a child again and be able to relive those days, at least the ones when "Santa" showed up with the right toys.)
Without a doubt, Christmas is a time for waiting and anticipating. So, what are you waiting for and anticipating this Christmas? Are you expecting something special this holiday season? The Bible speaks of two who were longing to receive a particular blessing from the Lord. One was a man named Simeon; the other was a woman named Anna. Both of them were eagerly waiting and looking for something special.
Luke 2:25 says that Simeon " was waiting for the consolation of Israel." Things had not been going very well for Israel. They had lost their political independence and were living in fear of the Roman government, wondering if the Messiah would ever come. But Simeon had hope and for good reason. He had been assured that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Anointed One. No doubt this had to be comforting! Can any of you identify with Simeon?
Luke 2:36-38 says that Anna " was looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem." Like Simeon, Anna was also waiting and anticipating. She was looking for grace and forgiveness. Therefore, when Anna saw Jesus, she gave thanks to God. At last, the One who would save His people from their sins had arrived. How many of you can identify with Anna?
Perhaps you are troubled right now. Or maybe you're feeling lonely, empty or afraid. It's possible you are plagued with guilt because of something you've done or the way you've been living or feeling like you're trapped in a pattern of sin that you can't break out of. If so, then take heart and wait no longer because you can find what you're looking for in the Lord.
Yes, Christ came to comfort and console you, regardless of how you're feeling or whatever your situation in life may be. So, beloved, if you need God's grace and forgiveness, then look no further, because Jesus can give you such a gift and make yours the best Christmas ever.
Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas.
David W. Day is the pastor at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Sumter.