If I were to be honest, I’d have to say that it’s been an effort to get into the Christmas spirit this year. I feel like “we just did this”, and I haven’t been ready for the season to come around again.
Whether I’m ready or not, we’re right in the thick of things. Yes, I’m doing all the Christmas stuff…..decorating, baking, shopping, wrapping. I’m getting it all done, and it really hasn’t been a chore.
As the holiday music and yummy food and the wrapping paper sink into my soul, I am slowly getting there. But, can I tell you this? I’m really longing for more.
I’m longing for more than just a nostalgic feeling of Christmas traditions and the annual family dinners.
I’m longing for more than new stuff. Yes, I’m buying stuff. Some new pajamas and socks were seriously needed, and I do enjoy buying presents for the kids and family. However, shopping for stuff doesn’t create in me a closer connection to God.
As much as I love seeing the happiness and glee on my children’s faces, I’m longing for more than their delight.
I’m longing for more than just the same old Christmas routine.
As I’ve been reading in Luke 2, I’m studying 2 obscure characters who were also longing for more:
At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Luke 2:25-26
Simeon spent his life longing for the Messiah.
He was so dedicated and devout even the Holy Spirit was operating in his life in these pre-Pentecost days. His relationship with God was so righteous that God promised Simeon he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. For 400 years no word from God was formally spoken to the people of Israel. But, obviously, Simeon was hearing from God. He had to have been a serious student of the Scriptures and of prophecy. His deep love for God and his concern for Isreal kept him longing so much for their fulfillment until he could see the promise fulfilled!
Can you imagine? What a promise! Communion with God on this scale was like Moses or David. Simeon was like Enoch walking with God or like Elisha seeing Elijah being taken to heaven.
Anna spent her life worshipping God.
Anna was a widow who spent her entire life worshipping at the Temple. After only 7 years of marriage, her husband died. She could have remarried and had children, but for whatever reason, that did not happen for her. She spent her days in prayer and fasting at the Temple. When she overheard Simeon’s exclamation about the baby Jesus, she couldn’t resist getting in on the praise! And, she told everybody about the child!
38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem. Luke 2:38
Can you imagine the encouragement they were to Mary and Joseph? Even when you know you are smack in the middle of God’s will, but you’ve never done this before. You’re scared. Then, two elderly people recognize who your child is, and they are excited with you. They encourage you. They tell you it’s going to be ok. These two faithful, wise Jews provided even more confirmation that Mary and Joseph were right in the middle of where they were supposed to be.
Every year when I read the Nativity account, I am drawn to these two people more than any other. Their lifelong dedication to God inspire me. I want to walk so closely with God that the Holy Spirit leads me. I want to deeply understand the Scriptures and to recognize when prophecy is being fulfilled. I want to dedicate my life to worshipping God in spirit and in truth. And, I want to be excited about it enough to share this Good News with others.
For Christmas, I’m longing for more than just superficial celebrations. I desire a deeper connection with God that keeps me hoping like Simeon and worshipping like Anna until I see the Messiah with my own eyes.
What are you longing for this Christmas?