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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sermon 01012012 1st Sunday After Christmas

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Lord Jesus Christ, we have celebrated Your Holy birth.  Your Word has been fulfilled and we have beheld Your Glory in a babe in a manger.  For in finding in the manger the beginning of the fulfillment of the plan of salvation we now can with Simeon ask that You let us depart in peace according to Your will.  For Your coming into the World was for all of mankind, including we saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

It is interesting that this morning, January 1, 2012 the beginning of the new year we gather to celebrate the dedication of a babe in the temple in Jerusalem.  Seven days ago, we gathered and heard the celebrated Christmas story of Luke and opened Christmas gifts, ate turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and all the fixings.  Yet now, we come to celebrate the dedication of a child according to the “Law of Moses”.

In the temple Mary and Joseph meet a man named Simeon, who is a devout and righteous man, upon whom the Holy Spirit rested.  Being led by the Holy Spirit to come at the same time as Jesus parents, Simeon had been promised “not to see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ”.  And now is fulfilled the promise of God to Simeon.  In his arms he holds the Messiah, Jesus Christ!  For me as Pastor, when I hold children that God has used me as towel holder to baptize, I can begin to understand Simeon’s joy in beholding the Gift from God of a child.

Yet this was not any child, this was the Messiah, the Christ.  We heard Simeon’s ballad we know as the Nunc Dimittis or “Song of Simeon”.  This canticle used in the liturgy is a result of the reformation and its influence upon the liturgical canticles and songs used in worship.  What is imparted, besought and received is a peace that Simeon receives in holding the long foretold Christ Child.  For the words, “mine eyes have seen Thy salvation” apply clearly to Simeon’s life and now the fulfillment of the scriptures is taking place.

But what does that matter for us today here in Goodland, KS, with snow on the ground, a cold wind blowing off the prairies and now the first day of 2012?  What matters is that the peace that Simeon felt at holding the Messiah we can feel as well.  This canticle is used most often during the Vespers service at the end of the service.  It is to be a stark reminder for us of the peace that God gives to us through the birth of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  In the lowly manger, because there was no room in the inn, Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ Who came into a world of His making to save and redeem mankind from sin, death and the devil.  In this one act the plan of salvation came into action and we now are partakers of it through our partaking of His precious body and blood.  As we eat His Body and drink His Blood the peace that Simeon felt is given to us as partakers of eternal life.
We celebrate the Glory, Honor and praise of Jesus Christ as we remember His being brought to the Temple in Jerusalem in fulfillment of the Law of Moses.  Yet, in His birth, being brought to the temple and His sacrificial death on the cross for all of us on Calvary, Jesus Christ sets us free and gives us the greatest peace we could ever hope to feel, a peace that Simeon felt when He saw, held and sang his canticle of praise.  May we celebrate with Simeon, Mary and Joseph and understand that this peace is given to all people, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel on this January 1, 2012.  AMEN.
//trial script