Waynedale United Methodist Church
Monday, February 19, 2018
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

December 31, 2017 Sermon

“Christ Will Come: My Eyes Have Seen!”

Luke 2:21 – 32

 Ted Jansen  December 31, 2017  Waynedale UMC

 

1.)        I was probably about 12 or 13 and I wanted some hiking boots for Christmas.  I probably showed my parents a picture from the Sears catalogue what they looked like.  These were the cool ones, the ones that when you wore them others thought you were cool.  These boots made you great!  So, for weeks I anticipated that I would get the boots for Christmas. 

Christmas day came and one of the wrapped presents looked like it could be the size of a shoe box.  I was excited and could hardly contain myself. 

Then it came to my turn to open this gift and I was ready to have my dreams fulfilled.  I tore of the wrapping paper and indeed it was a shoe box.  All I had to do was take off the lid and remove the tissue paper to reveal the cool boots that I was going to wear. 

I took off the lid and tore off the tissue paper and discovered that these were not the boots I had wanted to see.  No, they were not the cool boots.  They were some off brand boots, not what I was hoping for all these weeks.  They had some kind of soft material with a basic sole and basic shoelaces.  I was disappointed when I saw what I had received.  I didn’t get the cool hiking boots that I had wanted. 

 

2.)        Have you ever been disappointed with a gift that you thought was going to transform your life and it did not happen?  You didn’t get what you had anticipated.     When we finally “see” what we had hoped for and it doesn’t turn out we sigh and struggle and feel deflated!  I did not “see” what I had imagined I would see!     

 What did you “expect” this Christmas?   Where you disappointed this Christmas?  Or where you surprised.   Perhaps you received a gift that came unexpectedly to you. 

A few years ago Sue gave me a gift that I was not expecting.  I really enjoy and appreciate today.  Do you know what it was?  Some hiking boots.   These are like the cool ones that as a teenager I would have loved.  I did not ask for them, or expect them, but several years at Christmas they were given to me by Sue. 

 

3.)        What stories come to mind as you think of a gift that you hope and anticipated you would get?  What stories come to you of a gift that was unexpected and surprising?  (Give people time to share stories with each other and then share a few with the congregation.)

 

4.)        Simeon was a man that Luke tells us had been faithful and obedient to the Lord.   He had a heart of expectation, not for a certain Christmas present, but for a gift that would be for him and for the whole world. We read these words about Simeon in Luke 2:26.  “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he has seen the Lord’s Christ.” 

            Simeon had a promise from the Spirit that one day he would see the Messiah!  That is what is meant by the Lord’s Christ.  I wonder how many times Simeon went to the Temple and thought, “would this be the day?”   The days passed into weeks, which passed into months, which passed into years.     

            He did not see the Messiah and I wondered if he was disappointed, yet he lived with expectation.     

 

5.)        One day Luke tells us the Spirit moved Simeon and told him to look at a child being brought to the Temple to be consecrated to the Lord.  The Holy Spirit told Simeon that this was the Messiah.     

            Simeon held baby Jesus in his arms and as he looked at Jesus the Spirit of God stirred in Simeon to speak these words. 

            “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”  (Luke 2:29 – 32)

            Simeon was able to see the Messiah, the one who was to come for the Gentiles and the Jews.  The one from whom salvation will come for all people.  On this day Simeon was not disappointed, he was blessed.  His eyes saw what he had anticipated.  He knew God loved him and the world.         

 

6.)        When I saw the new baby being placed in the manger at a Pre-School program it touched my heart.   I wanted to keep looking at the baby and not pay attention to my next lines in the program.   I was imagining God as a baby coming for me.

            What surprised you and your eyes in 2017?  What saddened you and your eyes in 2017?  How was your heart touched by what you saw?  You were blessed and filled or you were broken or emptied.     

            I know a few weeks ago when I heard that my daughter had a car accident and she was ok I was thankful.  Then I saw the car and its front end damage.  My heart was emptied and I felt sad for her and thought how many more times will this happen. 

 

7.)        Consider the story of “The Grinch Stole Christmas.” The Grinch sees the people happy as they prepare for their Christmas celebration.  The Grinch doesn’t want the people of Whoville to be happy.  He thinks that if he takes all the presents and decorations they will be sad.  He believes that is what they are focused on.   So, the Grinch takes all the presents and waits for the people to start crying because all of their presents are gone.  He waits and instead of crying he hears something else     

            The Grinch hears the people singing and gathering together.  They don’t have any decorations or presents yet they are still happy.   The Grinch does not understand how they could be happy.   Then the Grinch feels something happening to his heart.  It changes and it warms up and is transformed.  From sadness and to joy, from hurt to love, from cold to warm.      

            The Grinch then goes back to Whoville and returns the presents and the people welcome the Grinch to the celebration they invite him to be the guest of honor and he celebrates with joy.  

 

8.)        I hope that your heart grew by what you saw or heard this Christmas.   

Immanuel, God with us, has been born and we have been invited to open this gift of love.  It is a gift that we can hold each day of the year and share it with others. 

    

9.)        I want to give you something that you can see, a scripture promise that comes from God as you begin 2018.  I want us to read these together and I want to pause and consider what you see in these words from scripture.  I want you to think about God’s promise to Simeon and his faithfulness.  I am going to pray that the Holy Spirit would bring these words into your heart. 

            I am going to pray that one of these promises would be the one you need to hold on to as you begin 2018!       

 

 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

 

God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

 

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8