“What difference does it make?” Ever ask yourself that question?

Take a moment now and consider the difference it makes that Emmanuel, God with us, is in the world and in your life.

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Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,

“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.

Luke 2:25, 28-33

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Mary and Joseph bring little Jesus to the temple for the customary Jewish rituals. But when Simeon takes Jesus in his arms, he understands what a wonderful gift he is holding. This is not just another baby. This is the Messiah — a gift of salvation for the Jews, the Gentiles, for everyone!

It is important that we also acknowledge the gifts we hold in our arms, gifts given by God for the benefit of everyone. What are the gifts that you hold? Maybe it’s an experience you had, the story of which can instruct or comfort others. Maybe it’s a talent or skill that you possess, which God can use to change the world for the better. Maybe it’s a resource you have, like money, or knowledge, or possessions that God can use to change a life or a community. Like Simeon, when we are living lives that are devout and looking forward to the consolation of God’s people, the Holy Spirit rests upon us too.

Bill Buchanan

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God, help me to know and appreciate the gifts you have given me, and use them for your glory. Amen.

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Go now into the rest of your day, knowing that God is out there doing amazing things.

Go now, rejoicing that you get to be a part of it!

Bill Buchanan

Bill Buchanan is an ordained pastor, Christian educator, and the Executive Director of Asheville Youth Mission and Raleigh Youth Mission. He lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina and loves being a dad to his two teenage kids.

Advent Waiting: Away in a Manger/O Come, All Ye Faithful

David Burroughs

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