St John's logo

Christmas words from the university of life

Si Walker, 10th December 2018

Town centre

Here is the testimony of two with a full resume of life experience. They have seen a lot.

In this snapshot of Jesus early years (taken from Luke 2 in the Bible), we have two older believers in Israel, testifying to Jesus and what God is doing through this child.

Simeon probably had a t-shirt that said ‘educated at the university of life.’

And Anna has seen a lot of things, and had some sadness.

As they met the baby Jesus at the temple with his parents, this is what they said:

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the gentiles.’

'Your heart- I should say your entire life- is defined by how you have responded to Jesus.'

Anna is just as up beat! ‘Coming up to them at that very moment’ (after Simeon had stopped the new parents in their tracks) ‘she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.’ You can read of this in Luke 2:28-38

My daughter, Isabelle, was excited to receive a gift this year from a dear friend at church. It was a German doll that had belonged to his wife and was over 100 years old. Another friend had made lovely new clothes for the doll, Hilda, as she has been named. Isabelle was so excited: ‘She is lovely!’ she said with outstretched arms, when she was given her.

Are you excited to receive Jesus?

Simeon calls Jesus Saviour and light: ‘For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations.’

Anna gave thanks to God.

When you see Jesus, you see God’s plan for saving people. He convicts the heart one way or the other. Your heart- I should say your entire life- is defined by how you have responded to Jesus.

Anna didn’t just say ‘ooh he looks like his Dad’, but, ‘he is the redemption of Jerusalem.’

Look how Simeon responds to him. ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, ‘You may dismiss your servant in peace.’ Or as the old translation had it, ‘let your servant depart in peace.’

Are you ready to depart?

'The truth is, many think they are ready, but they are simply not.'

Simeon’s readiness has been noted by believers for centuries in the old words of the church for Night Prayer. Simeon is ready to die because he has met Jesus. His work is done. The Lord can take him home.

We are not ready to die, until we have received Jesus. Until we can say to the Father in heaven, ‘my eyes have seen your salvation in Jesus’, we are not ready to depart in peace. This year none of us knows what lies ahead. We will not be able to assemble the same group of people next year for our carol service, as we will this year—some will have died, some will be unwell. Let’s make sure that you and I are ready even for death, because we have acknowledged Jesus as Saviour. The truth is, many think they are ready, but they are simply not. We must make ourselves ready to depart.

A prayer: Lord, please help me to be ready to depart. To acknowledge you as my Lord and to be ready to meet you. Help me do whatever it takes to be your obedient servant, for Jesus sake. Amen

Adapted from a recent talk at our Senior’s Party, which is a wonderful event that has happened for many years and was attended by many guests.