The Song of Simeon

Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor

Luke 2L29-32 | December 22 - Sunday Morning,

Sunday Morning,
December 22
The Song of Simeon | Luke 2L29-32
Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor
Download Audio Printable Transcript

Let’s come to the Lord once again as we approach His Word. O Lord, you have told us that whoever listens to Your Word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he is like. We do not want to be like that, we do not want to be those who walk away and forget everything we’ve seen, everything we’ve heard, so we’re asking, Lord, that we would not be those who merely listen to the Word, who simply set our watches for 30 or 40 minutes to endure the next sermon and get on to the rest of the day. O Lord, what a waste that would be. We do not want to deceive ourselves, so give us power to do what Your Word says, to be changed by Your Word, to listen and hear Your voice. We pray for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Our text this morning comes from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, Song of Simeon. We’ll begin reading at verse 22 through verse 35.

So here we are, actually after that Christmas day, when Jesus is presented in the temple.

“And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.’ Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, ‘Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.'”

“And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.’

In order to fully appreciate what’s going on in this passage and the setting that leads Mary and Joseph to the temple, we need to know something about the Old Testament. Joseph and Mary, as you can see by these quick allusions, are fulfilling two different Old Testament customs. The first is the presentation of the firstborn.

If you just keep your finger in Luke, turn back to Exodus chapter 13, Exodus 13, we read in verse 11, “When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites as He swore to you and your fathers and shall give it to you, you shall set apart to the Lord all of the first opens the womb, all the firstborn of your animals that are male shall be the Lord’s, every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it, you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?” you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt from the house of slavery for when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animals, therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all the males that first opened the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.'”

So you see the Old Testament law here, it has to do with Passover as they were leaving Egypt and that final of the ten plagues climatically was to be the death of the firstborn, but those who had in Israel the lamb’s blood over the door, the angel of death passed by and their children lived. And so in commemoration of that, God established His law that the firstborn would be holy unto the Lord, and so with an animal it may mean a sacrifice, or if you don’t do that, you actually break its neck, but of course you don’t do that for your children, but you redeem. Later God says “I’ll take the Levites in place of your firstborn, but you need to redeem your firstborn by paying 5 shekels of silver.”

Now Luke doesn’t mention the 5 shekels, perhaps Mary and Joseph were too poor to pay, or perhaps it’s just assumed that they paid it, but that’s what they’re doing, they are bringing their firstborn unto the Lord in keeping with the Law of Moses.

And surely there was added significance as they bring not only their son, but God’s son, a way to say that this child is holy and is truly His heavenly Father’s Son, and this One belongs to his heavenly Father.

And then the other custom is this rite of purification after childbirth, so move ahead just one book from Exodus to Leviticus, chapter 12, and there are certain instructions, what the woman is to do after she gives birth for her own uncleanness, and then what she is to do with the child. So we read in verse 6 of Leviticus 12, “And when the days of her purifying are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting,” and now years later it’s the temple, “a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering.”

Now go down to verse 8, it explains that you may not have to bring all of those animals, “If she cannot afford a lamb, she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.”

So you go back to Luke chapter 2 and you see that Mary and Joseph have come with a pair of turtledoves or two pigeons, so they were not of the wealthiest people, they did not have livestock of their own to bring. Now we don’t know for sure that they would have been of the poorest of the poor, probably most of the Israelites only had these two birds to bring, especially if they are traveling some distance to get to Jerusalem. And so they in keeping with the Law of Moses bring their two birds for an offering of purification for Mary after the birth of Jesus.

Now why does Luke bother mentioning this Old Testament stuff? Why is it quoted in two places? Why did we turn back to it?

Well, one of the reasons may be that he’s writing for a Gentile audience. He is writing, you remember, to most excellent Theophilus, perhaps a Roman official of some high standing. He may have found these Jewish practices very strange and so he’s trying to connect the dots for a Gentile audience.

But even more importantly, Luke wants us to see that Joseph and Mary were law-abiding Jews.

Now, we’ll see in just a moment the words from Simeon that Jesus is going to bring division, but the division that Jesus brings was not because He meant to blow apart Judaism, or overthrow the nation of Israel. The division He causes was due to the hardness of human hearts.

What Luke wants us to see is that Jesus, and beginning with His family, are fulfilling the law of Moses and that Jesus in His death, in His life, will fulfill all of the prescriptive requirements of the law of Moses and not only in His life, but here His parents.

So if we are looking to Jesus for the freedom to create our own religious rules, or to simply be unhitched from the Old Testament, then we need to find another hero for Christmas.

In studying this text, two words jumped out at me: Law and spirit. Did you notice those two words? Five times in this passage, from verse 22 and if we carry it through the reading about Anna in verse 40, Luke mentions the law.

Verse 52: The purification according to the Law of Moses.

Verse 23: As it was written in the law of the Lord.

Verse 24: The sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord.

Verse 27: And they did according to the custom of the law, at the end of verse 27.

Then later at verse 39: When they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord.

So five times in this passage with Simeon and Anna Luke mentions the law.

But did you notice three times he mentions the Spirit?

Verse 55: Simeon was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

Verse 26: It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit.

Verse 27: He came into the temple in the Holy Spirit.

In fact, by the end of verse 40 in chapter 2, Luke has mentioned Spirit at least 10 times in his Gospel, and at least 8 times he has talked about someone following the law or observing the Lord’s commands. So there is this strong emphasis in Luke that Spirit-people are law-people and law-people are Spirit-people. That the righteous ones from Elizabeth and Zachariah to Joseph and Mary to ultimately Jesus Himself are law keepers and they are powerfully led by the Spirit. So the heroes in Luke are law-people, Spirit-people, and we’re not going to dwell here very long, but just reflect on that a moment, because these are two things you usually pit against each other, to be Spirit-led is to be what? Is to be spontaneous, is to not be constrained by religious rules and dogma.

And if you are a law-abiding person, well, then that might be good but you’re very rigid and you’re an engineer or an accountant somewhere and you’re sort of supposed to be nervous about the Spirit.

Well, that’s because we hear law and Spirit and we import our own idiosyncrasies and our own caricatures and we don’t fully appreciate how the Bible understands law and Spirit. And all of the heroes we have in Luke are putting together these things, careful attention to obeying the law and being led, prompted, filled by the Holy Spirit. So don’t think law and Spirit is some sort of spiritual oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp, like random order, original copy, act naturally, plastic silverware, crash landing. Well, you either crash or you landed. Or as your kids might say, “I want the bigger half.” Well, you only have a half, there’s no, well, think about it.

It’s true in the church as well, that there are certain things that seem to be an oxymoron that must not be. A passion for doctrine and good theology, and a passion to love and care for one another. Those two things must go together. A church that is careful and intentional about shepherding its own people, and a church that is intentional about engaging in evangelizing the lost. A church that will steadfastly stand against the culture and the world and a church that will steadfastly reach out and love to the culture and to the world.

May it never be that Christ Covenant is a place that feels like we are forced to choose between those two pairs. We’re going to be doctrine people or we’re going to be caring people. Or we’re going to be fellowshipping, loving one another people, or we’re going to be reaching outside and looking for others kind of people. Or we’re going to be not compromising with the world people or we’re going to be we really are relevant loving people.

Together, law, Spirit, that’s the combination we see in these opening chapters of Luke. And of course what we see in the Lord Jesus Himself.

So Luke wants to establish that Joseph and Mary are fulfilling all righteousness, just as Jesus will, in keeping to the customs of the Law of Moses.

And so now we meet Simeon in verse 25. Come back on Christmas Eve, we will say more about Simeon the person because he’s a, a twinned character with Anna the prophetess.

This morning not so much looking at who he was, but rather what he said. I want to first look at his song, and then look at his sign.

So first, and we won’t spend too much time here, with his song, because it bears a lot of resemblance to the same kinds of themes that we had with Mary’s song and with Zechariah’s song. We see that Simeon was godly. He was ready to die, but not before he saw the Lord’s Christ, and so he sees Jesus, he takes Him up in his arms, and he praises God. And he says, according to the Latin vulgate, of course he wasn’t speaking Latin but Aramaic and the New Testament was written in Greek, but in Latin it says the first two words “Nunc dimittis,” “Now dismiss,” “Now let your servant depart in peace,” and so this is often called the Nunc Dimitits, and the previous song from Zechariah was The Benedictus and then from Mary The Magnificat.

“Now let your servant depart in peace, I’ve seen the salvation. All that You have predicted has come true.”

Look at verse 31: “My eyes have seen Your salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,” every good thing God planned for His people, every righteous purpose God had for the world was there, resting in Simeon’s arms, in this child.

Now most everyone here has at some point, you’ve held a little child, your own, niece, nephew, friend, grandchild, and it’s precious to hold this life, just a few days, a few weeks old, and to look into this child’s eyes and see whatever your hopes and dreams and seemingly limitless potential, but of course all of those children, as precious as they are, are fallen, fallible, sinful.

What an experience it must have been for Simeon, even though he may not have realized everything that would come true in this child, he knew enough to know that this was the One he had been waiting for. This was the child after all of those years.

Some of you waited and waited for children. Perhaps unable to have children and adopted, or perhaps enjoying the precious life that you see around you. But no matter how long you may have waited, no one waited as long as Simeon and Israel waited for the birth of the Messiah, this long awaited Deliverer, this One who would crush the head of the serpent, this One who would set them free not only from Egypt or Babylon or Rome but from their sins and so there in 9 pounds, just guessing, 9 pounds of little Jewish boy was all the hopes and dreams, not only of Israel but of the world.

You could take the salvation of all peoples and literally hold it in the palm of your hand. The glory that Simeon held in his arms was not just for him, not just for Israel, but he confesses it was a light of revelation to the Gentiles, glory to Israel and beyond.

Romans 15:8: “For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for His mercy.”

That’s what they were celebrating. As Isaiah would say, it is too small a thing that God should raise up a Chosen One to just redeem the lost tribes of Israel. That was too small for God. Yes, they were His chosen people, His treasured possession, precious in His eyes, but that was too small a thing that God would send a Messiah simply to deliver these people who lived in this little sliver of land there on the edge of the Mediterranean, wedged between superpowers and now just a little vassal state in the broad reaches of the Roman Empire. That’s too small a thing.

God wanted to save people like you, like me. He wanted His salvation to stretch up into northern Europe and across to Asia and down to Africa and over to the Americas, on every continent. To the nations.

Simeon sings this song of glory, salvation come to God’s people, and now to all those on whom His favor rests. That’s Simeon’s song.

I want us to look mainly, however, at Simeon’s sign. So after blessing the child and blessing His parents, Simeon turned specifically to Mary with a solemn word of warning. Simeon is a prophet of sorts, the Holy Spirit has revealed things to him, and as a prophet he knows that this little child, as precious as He is, the long-awaited deliverer, that He will bring not only great joy, but He will bring great upheaval. Mary and Joseph will know great blessing and they will know great heartache.

This is the case for every parent. That one of the most amazing, riskiest things you can ever do is to bring a child into the world. Untold joy that will be brought to you, and unspeakable heartache. Even in the best of circumstances. Children with their sins and illnesses and simply leaving away from home, will mean pain. Joy, but pain.

Now up to this point in Luke’s Gospel, things have been very upbeat, and of course this is a joyous occasion as well. Yes, there is no room at the inn and yes Zechariah couldn’t talk for the better part of a year, but Elizabeth may not have minded. But, but really for two chapters, for two chapters we have been on a roll, babies are being conceived miraculously and being born and they’re forerunners and they’re messiahs and songs are being sung and angels are praising and shepherds rejoicing and the Holy Spirit seems to be everywhere.

But here from Simeon now there is in the musical score just an underlying hint of a minor key being played on the strings. The tone of pervasive joy takes a solemn turn. He says, in verse 35: And a sword, Mary, will pierce through your own soul.

It’s likely a reference to the cross. There’s nothing so painful as burying a child, and what could be more exquisitely painful than to see your Son, the righteous One, the Holy One, nailed to a cross for crimes He did not commit, for sins that were the farthest thing from Him?

Here’s what John Calvin says: “This warning must have contributed greatly to fortify the mind of the holy virgin and to prevent her from being overwhelmed with grief, when she came to those distressing struggles which she had to undergo. Though her faith was agitated and tormented by various temptations, yet her sorest battle was with the cross, for Christ might appear to be utterly destroyed. She was not overwhelmed with grief, but would have required a heart of stone not to be deeply wounded for the patience of the saints differs widely from stupidity.”

You hear what Calvin’s saying there? The saints are patient, yes, but they’re not stupid. Their hearts are sanctified, but they still break. They still weep, they still get pierced through.

But it’s not just Mary who will experience difficulty on account of Jesus. Look at what Simeon says: This child is destined to cause the falling and the rising, He’s appointed for the upward and the downward trajectory of many in Israel and He will be a sign that is opposed, a sign that is spoken against, and the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.

Look at each of those phrases. “This child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel.”

As we saw a couple of weeks ago, one of the great themes in Luke’s Gospel is this great reversal that is announced and is coming, that those on the top will wind up on the bottom, those on the bottom will be on the top, the bigshots will fall and the lowly will rise. Jesus is going to mean a bull market for some, and a bear market for others. Not because Jesus’ mission was to condemn people, rather in their unbelief and rebellion in the face of Jesus, people condemn themselves.

And we see it all over the Gospels; the last end up first and the first end up last. Just the sort of people that you thought had everything together, had everything going for them, they end up in the back of the line. And the people that you thought were utterly destitute, broken, nothing to commend themselves in this world, they end up at the very front.

Some will be like Lazarus, the Lazarus of Luke chapter 16, poor in this life, but rich in the next, where he rests in Abraham’s bosom. Others will be like the rich man in that story, wealthy, oppressive in this life, only to be tortured in the next. Some will be like the tax collector who went up and beat his breast and said, “Have mercy on me, Lord, a sinner.” And others will be like the Pharisee who prayed, “Thank you, Lord, that I am not like other men.”

That’s the fall and the rise of many in Israel, that Jesus will expose the human heart. Ultimately, you only have one of those two responses. Either deep down in your heart this morning, you come before God and you dare not to look at Him in His holiness and you beat your chest and you say like the tax collector, “Have mercy on me, have mercy, I don’t deserve any of this goodness. I don’t deserve Your blessing. I only come in meekness to ask that you would have mercy and give me what I don’t deserve.”

Either that’s your heart, or honestly your heart, dressed up in your Sunday best, is to stand before God and say, with all pious sincerity, “oh, God, thank You that I’m not like other people, other people who don’t know their Bible, other people who don’t vote the right way, other people who don’t live the right way, other people who’ve made a mess of their family, other people whose kids aren’t walking with the Lord, other people who don’t give as generously as I do. Lord, it’s Your grace, of course, but thank you that I’m not like them.”

There’s only one heart that receives the Lord’s blessing, and when Jesus reveals to you your heart, it will mean the rising of some you thought were on the bottom, and it will mean the precipitous decline of some who thought they were quite impressive.

Simeon says this child will be a sign that is spoken against, a sign that is opposed, a scandal. You have to understand everyone in Jesus’ day was looking for a sign. “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, blocking up the scenery, breaking my mind,” or something like that. They wanted to know, what will the Messiah look like? When will these things happen? Are you the One to come or should we look for another?

And though today you don’t find nearly as many people looking for the sign of the Messiah to come, people are looking for something. People want to know is that where I can I find healing? Is that where I get deliverance? Is that where I find redemption? Will that ad, if I do and purchase the things it tells me to, will that give me purpose and meaning in my life?

Or some of us in a spiritual realm want a sign from God. Is the person I should marry? Is this a job I should take? Is this where I should be? Is this how I can be happy?

Here’s the sign. After all these centuries of waiting, Simeon says here’s the sign that God’s promises are coming true, here’s the sign that God is doing everything He told us He would do. It’s a little baby. There’s the sign.

And people throughout the Gospels have different reactions to that sign. Just like today people have different responses to Jesus. Some walk down the street, don’t care. Some like Simeon rejoice and say, “My eyes have seen Your salvation.” And others speak against the sign, that’s what Simeon predicts. Many will oppose this.

Now you would think, who could oppose a little baby? Who can be anti-baby Jesus? Well, He doesn’t stay baby Jesus. He grows up, and He teaches and He preaches and He performs signs and wonders, and He rebukes and He has many hard sayings, and He calls people to faith and to repentance. And many of them say, “That’s not the Jesus we were looking for. That’s not the Messiah we wanted.”

And Simeon wants Mary and Joseph to be prepared and he wants all of us to be prepared. You should not expect that Jesus gets a 100% approval rating. And if Jesus doesn’t get it, you shouldn’t expect to get it. Jesus lived for His Father’s approval. He never expected the crowds would give Him universal acclaim. Simeon told us all here from the beginning some will speak against this sign, not everyone is in to Jesus.

We see these two truths even today. Jesus is magnetic, and that some people are drawn to Him, attracted to Him, they don’t want to go anywhere away from Him, and yet as you know, magnets attract and they repel, so some people like, you ever try to put the, you know, the magnets that if they have the same pole, right? They don’t come together and you try to squeeze them and they just push it and push it, and some people are like that with Jesus. And you’ve tried maybe with your family, or with your neighbors or with your friends. Maybe you’re even here because that somebody in your life, they keep pushing you like that magnet, and every time you get close to Jesus, you start moving away. Simeon said that was going to happen. Some people would love the sign and some people would speak against the sign.

Jesus is magnetic and Jesus is divisive. Not everyone’s into Jesus.

Now, now listen very carefully. It is certainly true that people get hurt by the church, people go through hard things, Christians say dumb things, Christians prove to be hypocrites, pastors disappoint them or commit moral failure, or churches get a massive dysfunction… All of those things happen. Maybe some of those things have happened in your life. We don’t discount them. But consider very carefully, before you blame your troubles on the church, this church or any church, that is before you say, “Well, I don’t want anything to do with Christmas, with Christ, because of the church.” Before you go there, make sure your problem isn’t really with Jesus. Because there’s a lot of people who fool themselves into thinking, “Well, it’s just the worship style I don’t like, that’s why I can’t find a church. There’s only 300,000 of them in this country and none of them play the instruments the way I like,” “It’s the preaching, it’s just the preaching, it’s the pastor’s no good, you know, I didn’t much like the old pastor or the new pastor, but the future pastor I’m planning on really appreciating,” “It’s institutional religion, I just, you know, I don’t like institutions, that’s why I spend all of my time working for the bank,” “It’s just Christians I don’t like.” Well, careful. Is it Christians? Or is it Christ?

“I like Jesus,” but really? Is the Jesus of the Bible? The Jesus who says hard things? The Jesus who will stretch our brains and pierce our hearts?

Without a doubt, there are all sorts of ways that people and Christians and churches can hurt us. Maybe you have those experiences. But more often than not, all of that is to just give us peace of mind to keep Jesus at arm’s length.

You think Jesus is honored when you say, “I can’t have anything to do with you, Jesus, because somebody who said they loved You didn’t love me very well.”

Now you say, “Well, but, I don’t like this Jesus of being divisive. Didn’t Jesus come to be a God of peace? I thought Christmas was all about peace on earth.”

True, but remember what the angels sang: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” The peace is for those who follow Jesus, the peace of the Bible is always and only found in connection with the God of the Bible.

Christmas is not about some sort of magic Messiah dust that God sprinkles on the world so everyone can just sing and listen to Mariah Carey songs for a month. Surely there’s more to it than that.

He came to bring peace to those on whom His favor rests, those who get it, those who have ears, those who have eyes. But it won’t be everyone. Father will be against son, daughter against mother, on account of Me, Jesus said.

Here’s the hard reality that some of you know only too well at Christmas: Jesus sometimes makes things worse. Not because He’s for family strife, but because He demands absolute allegiance. And when the Gospel is preached, the real Gospel with all of its edges and boldness and glory, it will upset things. Jesus is a precious cornerstone and He is the stone that the builders have rejected.

Which brings us to this last phrase the Simeon give us: “He will be a sign opposed, pierced through your own soul, so that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

Jesus is the revealer of hearts. How does Jesus reveal your heart?

One, He sends the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and righteousness and judgment.

Two, His death on the cross shows us the true nature of our sin and rebellion, that is when Jesus died, we see that we were not some precious diamond in the rough, but that we were rebels far from God. You who would view its nature rightly, its guilt to estimate, look on the cross, it reveals to us not so much what we were worth, but what we cost.

So He reveals our hearts by the Spirit, He reveals our hearts by the cross, and third He reveals our hearts by showing us who God is and therefore our real heart toward God.

Jesus reveals our true affections toward God.

Now, this was most powerfully felt, of course, when He walked on earth because it was one thing to say, of course, I love God, of course I’m a religious person, I’m a Jew, after all.

Well, then God took on human flesh. There He was. All of your talk about God this and angels that and spiritual realms, here He is, God in the flesh. What do you do with Him?

Well, it was perhaps most powerfully felt when He was there physically, but we have eyewitness account, and by the Spirit He is made known to us, and so we have the same choice to make: What will you do with this God?

Does nothing, it means nothing, to say how much you are into God and into faith and how spiritual you are and how much of a Christian you are and how much Christ means, if Jesus, this person Jesus of Nazareth, born here, the baby, held in Simeon’s arms, if this One is not the One you follow, the One you love more than life itself, the One who is your only hope in life and in death.

That’s why people are constantly trying to tear apart the Gospels, redefine Jesus. It’s not so much an intellectual issue, yes, there are intellectual issues to deal with, but it’s a heart issue. We are in rebellion against the living God.

Legalists don’t like Jesus dining with sinners and forgiving tax collectors, because in their hearts they don’t want God to be gracious.

And libertines, that is the ethically immoral, they don’t like Jesus speaking about sin and Hell and condemnation, because in their hearts they do not want God to be a righteous God.

Modernists don’t like Jesus doing miracles, talking about demons, because in their hearts they don’t want a supernatural God.

And postmodernists don’t like Jesus talking about Truth with a capital T and a narrow gate because they don’t want Jesus to be an exclusive God.

He’s the revealer of hearts because what you see in Jesus is what you have with God.

And so there’s constantly a struggle. If only we could redefine, reevaluate this Jesus, then we could have a God that suits us, a God that we like, a God that doesn’t upset any of our tendencies, our inclinations. But Jesus won’t let us do that. We must see Jesus in all His glory, all His attributes, because in seeing Jesus, we see God.

And make no mistake: When we take issue with Jesus, we take issue with God.

When we ignore Jesus, we ignore God.

And when we see Jesus in all His compassion, forgiveness, righteousness, holiness, justice, truth, and grace, let me ask you: What does your heart feel?

Some of us will feel more deeply in this month from watching It’s a Wonderful Life or watching our team play football or singing Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer than we will feel at the foot of the manger and of the cross.

Jesus reveals what we really think, what we really believe, what we really feel, and what we really do with God.

So does your heart speak out against this sign really? That’s not the God I want, that’s not the Jesus I serve, that’s not what I’m about.

Or does your heart explode in song, and on that great day when He returns not as a little, helpless babe in the manger, but as our great and glorious King, will you rise? Or will you fall?

Let’s pray. Our gracious heavenly Father, we give thanks for this precious One that you have revealed to us that we can know, the One that Simeon longed to see. We have known, many of us our entire lives, and so give us a heart to sing with the herald angels, glory to the newborn King, peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled. We pray that our hearts would be right toward this One, and we ask in His name. Amen.