Daily Devotion for December 27, 2014
Third Day of Christmas
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary's lap lay sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the son of Mary.
Why lies he in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come, peasant, king, to own him.
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
Traditional English folk song Greensleeves
Lyrics by William Chatterton Dix, 1865.
Prayer of Thanks
Heavenly Father, I thank you for my life and everything you have bestowed upon me and upon all people, this day and every day. I thank you for the good and bad, the understanding of forgiveness, and your holy power, without which we would have nothing. I thank you this day for all your blessings, your gifts, your never ending love for us. Although we all are sinners, I ask you to forgive me every day for what I might have done wrong, that I might not have noticed. Even though we all come short of the glory of God, I thank you for the sacrifice of your only son Jesus Christ for all our sins. You and only you know us Father and you know if our hearts are true. So once again, I thank you with all my heart and soul. In the name of Christ I pray,
A Christmas Prayer
Eternal God, this joyful day is radiant with the brilliance of your one true light. May that light illuminate my heart and shine in my words and deeds. May the hope, the peace, the joy, and the love represented by the birth in Bethlehem fill my life and become part of all that I say and do. May I share the divine life of your son Jesus Christ, even as he humbled himself to share my humanity. Bless me and the feast that You have provided for me, let me be thankful for the true gift of Christmas, your Son.
Lord, support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 143:5-6 (ESV)
I remember the days of old, O Lord;
I meditate on all Your works;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
I spread out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.
Luke 2:25-35 (ESV)
Simeon Sees God's Salvation
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. And when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for Him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying:
According to Thy word;
For my eyes have seen Thy salvation
Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Thy people Israel."
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising again of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
Notes on the Scripture
The events recounted in the Scripture today do not involve Christ's circumcision; that occurred eight days after His birth, probably still in his manger in Bethlehem. Jewish law required a period of purification for the mother, which lasted forty days, and presentation of the child (with a sacrifice of two doves) at the end; in fact, on February 2 or 3, some churches celebrate the "Feast of Purification". (See Luke 2:21-24.)
When they arrive, they find waiting for them a sort of private prophet, a man of great holiness named Simeon, touched by the Spirit, who waits in the courts of the great Temple to see the Messiah; for the Spirit has promised Simeon that he should see the Christ child before his death, and this is all Simeon waits upon before he dies.
The lovely canticle he recites is sometimes called the "Canticle of Simeon" but is also known by its first two words, in Latin: Nunc dimittis, "Now you dismiss (your servant)".
The revelation that this baby was the Messiah, so strongly prophesied in the holy literature of Judaism for 800 years, was made only to a very small number of people. Christ's birth was practically forgotten by the time He began to preach, when He was about 30 years old. Here, we have the oddity of a holy man declaring that he is now ready to die, because he has seen the Christ, right in the epicenter of Judaic religious practice, the Temple itself — and yet very few people seem to take notice.
But the beauty of Simeon's song would echo in history, for here was a man so powerful in faith, that his only wish was to see Christ and then give up earthly life. The strength of his conviction inspires us today.
Simeon also echoes the odd prophesy of Isaiah. The Jewish Messiah did not come to save the Jews only; He had come as a "light to bring revelation to the Gentiles" as well, a sentiment unheard of in the Temple, where Gentiles were an abomination.