Pause

Ever wondered what it means to keep Christ in Christmas? Well, you’re doing it right now!

You’re taking a break from shopping or Christmas goodies or a gift exchange because a nudge from the Spirit invited you to pause.

You are taking specific steps to live out your belief that Jesus is the reason for the season.

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Listen

A man named Simeon was in Jerusalem. He was righteous and devout. He eagerly anticipated the restoration of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he wouldn’t die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Led by the Spirit, he went into the temple area. Meanwhile, Jesus’ parents brought the child to the temple so that they could do what was customary under the Law. Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said,

“Now, master, let your servant go in peace according to your word, because my eyes have seen your salvation. You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples. It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles and a glory for your people Israel.”

His father and mother were amazed by what was said about him.

Luke 2:25-33

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Think

As first-time parents, Mary and Joseph probably felt reluctant allowing Simeon to hold their newborn. Simeon made the moment even more awkward by announcing that this little baby was about to spark a revolution. Simeon’s words praised God, but they were also words of defiance to the powerful. Simeon believed that Jesus’ birth would set in motion an era of freedom and prosperity for both Jews and Gentiles.

God’s promise to Simeon was kept, but history reveals that things turned out differently than Simeon anticipated. Jesus certainly turned the world on its head in the spiritual realm, but the earthly authorities of his day seemed to win the day when they hung Jesus on the cross.

There’s more to the story. As Christians, we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and live in hope of the new heaven and new earth that God promises when Jesus comes again. Like Simeon, we can celebrate God’s promises for today and trust that God works out the bigger picture in ways that perfectly fulfill a holy and sacred purpose that goes beyond our lifetime.

Tammy Wiens

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Pray

God, help me to trust that you will keep your promises to me, even when things don’t turn out like I imagined. Use me to fulfill your holy purpose in the world. Amen.

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Go

May your heart be full of gladness
And the peace that covers sadness
May your joy be overflowing
And your many blessings growing
May you have the time you've longed for
With the people that you love
May you have yourself a merry Christmas now.

Sara Groves, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” 2008

Tammy Wiens

Tammy Wiens is the Associate for Christian Formation at the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Among many and varied tasks, she serves as Mission Coordinator for UKirk college ministries. She also works alongside Christian educators from many different denominations to figure out together what it means to teach and grow in faith. When not at work, Tammy loves to ride her bike, walk a golf course and hit a few balls, and make music with her husband, Sheldon.

Unto Us: Silent Night

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