going to just call your attention to the scenes that come
across our minds and we celebrate Christmas. Well, look
at the people. There・s a woman and a man and the woman
is on a donkey, and she・s about to bring forth a child.
Mary and Joseph. Then entering the scene, as a Christmas
unfolds, it・s the angels. Then the shepherds and the
Wisemen come in. The last person to enter the last act in
the last scene of this whole Christmas celebration time,
who is it? Not angels. Not shepherds. Not Wisemen. But one
old man who is in the temple in Jerusalem.
And this is
a gorgeous temple. This Crystal Cathedral is nothing, nothing
compared to the size and the scale and the marble and the
elegance and the richness of the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus
enters there 8 days old. And through the crowded city and
into that crowded elaborate temple there enters a young
woman, probably 16, 17, 18 years old and she・s carrying
a tiny little baby for the circumcision. And she・s
accompanied by her husband. The foster father of this Son
of God. They come into the temple, from across
the huge space there・s one old man and he has never
seen them before, but he makes a hasty approach, because
he has been inspired by the Holy Spirit to know that this
is the Messiah that is coming. His name is Simeon; you read
it in St. Luke chapter 2 verses 29 and 30.
And Simeon has
been a student of the prophecies, of the faith.
The prophesies contained a promise of God that someday
God will come out of the unseen silence and come down like
a human being. And we can see His face and feel His touch
and relate to Him. This will be the Messiah.
And this Simeon
for some reason has been praying and believing and believing
and believing and believing that he will see this Messiah
in his lifetime. And now this young mother, father and the
Baby come into the temple and he is struck instantly that・s
the Messiah. Wow. My prayer has been answered. Fantastic.
And he comes and he holds and blesses the baby. And then
he looks up and he says now Lord let Your servant depart
in peace. I have seen the Son of God.
Why is Simeon
the wrap-up scene in this whole Christmas story? Tell you
why it・s a wrap-up scene. Because it sums up what the
life of this Jesus is all about. Jesus is coming to bring
us a new faith. Wow. And Simeon was one who lived it. Practiced
it the great faith.
And if you・re
watching today and you don・t know much about our faith
let me tell you what it is. I・ll give you 4 simple
words. You can remember them. This faith that Jesus brings
is a simple faith. A comment on that. It・s a saving
faith. I・ll come back to that. It・s a soaring
faith. Wow. And it・s a finally very satisfying faith.
Yeah. A simple faith.
What is this
simple faith that Jesus came to teach us? It・s this.
There is a God. Behind the twinkling stars. There is a God. And now this God is coming to this earth to
show in a human being what He, the God・s heart is really
like. It・s a God of love and mercy and encouragement.
it・s a saving faith. It・s interesting that when
Jesus used the word, referring to being saved translated
saved in the New Testament. The first times He・s using
it; it has no reference at all to hell versus heaven. In
other words getting saved so you don・t go to heaven
and now go to hell. First time He uses it, it is always
in turning the human being into a whole person. And so essentially
what it means, first of all to be saved is to get in connected
with God so that you can be a whole person.
You are not
a whole person if you're dominated by doubt and unbelief.
You are not a whole person if you do not have a positive
mental attitude. Call
it faith, but that・s what you need. Only the person
who lives in the dimension of faith is a whole person. You
are not an emotionally healthy human person if you do not
have a strong capacity to live by faith. First of all get
saved from your own guilt and separation from God. God came
to earth in Jesus to save us from our sins.
The faith, it・s
a simple faith. It・s a saving faith. And then it becomes
a soaring faith. We get connected with God. And when we
connect with God He gives us passions, He gives us dreams.
Then the fourth
word is it・s a satisfying faith. Ultimately you attack
your dreams, like Simeon, never gave up on his dream. You
know probably everybody here has something that you want
to achieve before you die.
And if you don・t it・s time to do some serious
thinking and praying. So long as we are alive God has plans
and work for us to do.
What is God・s
plan for you? Why are you here this morning? What is
His will for your life?
Pray for it.
And when you get His will and His dream, you will
know deep down in your heart that this is something God
wants you to do. It
will take all the faith you can get.
You know, Rob
Rowe is a pastor and he sent me this story. It・s true
story. Very touching. It was about the new pastor who came to
his little church in Brooklyn. The church had been abandoned.
And he had the dream of starting a new church on Christmas
Eve. People would come on Christmas Eve, if they never came
any other time. So he and his wife, it was October, they
spent their time and they worked and they repaired it, the
pews and the walls and finally on December 18 it was finished.
clean and wonderful and they were advertising Christmas
Eve Candlelight Services. And on December 19 the storm struck
and he saw to his shock that the whole plaster wall behind
the pulpit had gotten so soaked with water and it fell and
it was a big mess. And the plaster hole was about 10 feet
by 8 feet.
have Christmas Eve Candlelight Services. It just almost
destroyed him. And as he was leaving that church in despair
he saw a little like a garage sale that somebody was having
and he was attracted and for a moment he stopped and then
he saw something that interested him, it looked nice. It
was a piece of cloth. What is it? Oh, it・s a tablecloth.
Oh. Handmade. And he looked at it. It was beautiful. Very
beautiful. How much is it. It was cheap so he bought it.
And just as he bought it he took it out and looked wow.
It・s big enough. It would cover the hole behind the
He turned around
headed back to the church, by this time it started to snow.
And he saw a bus pulling away from a bus stop just as an
older woman running to catch it sat on the bench. She missed
it. And the next bus wouldn・t come for 45 minutes.
It・s a true story. So, with a new tablecloth heading
for the church, he stopped and said to the woman the next
bus doesn・t come for 45 minutes. She said I know. He
said you can get cold. Church is right next door. Come I・m
going in there. Stay warm. So she did.
She sat in the back while he got out a ladder and
he got out some hammer and nails and put that whole tablecloth
out. It was beautifully crochet. There was a cross in the
middle. When it was all finished you couldn・t tell
there was a hole. He turned a negative into positive.
And he saw that
old woman walk slowly down the side aisle and she said,
：Are there any letters in the right hand corner?；
He said, ：Yes.； She said, ：Could they be
EBG?； He said, ：Yes.； She said, ：That・s
my tablecloth. I made it. Thirty-five years ago my husband
and I were very rich in Austria. And the Nazis came. And
they stole all of our things and my husband said you go
ahead. If you stay with me you・ll end in prison. So
I went ahead and they caught me and they put me in prison.
My husband, I・ve never seen again, I・m sure he
died.； But she said, ：That・s my tablecloth.；
And the pastor said, ：Well I・ll take it down and
give it..； ：No, no, no, no,； she said,
：Please, please leave it there.；
And so it stayed
there and the church is packed for Christmas Eve and everybody
said, oh the church is so beautiful. You fixed it up so
nice. Oh what a nice tapestry you found for the back wall.
There was one
old man that was a regular in the church from the neighborhood.
And he went to the pastor, he said, ：Where did you
get that tablecloth?； He said, ：You know there・s
not another tablecloth like it. My wife made one just like
that. But then the Nazis came and they took her and I guess
she died, maybe in the holocaust. But I guess they took
everything we had. Where did you get it?； Pastor told
He said, ：Could
there by any chance be initials in the right hand corner.；
Pastor said ：Yes it・s..； and he said, ：EBG.；
He said, ：yes.； Then the pastor said, ：Its
Christmas Eve, you know, your wife is alive. After she saw
that wouldn・t take it back, I drove her home through
the snow. I know where she・s living. She・s living
in Staten Island. She only came to Brooklyn to do a house-cleaning
job. So how would you like to meet her?；
And Pastor drove
him to Staten Island, and the old man walked three flights
of creaky stairs into the arms of his beloved wife.
And pastor said, ：That・s the most beautiful
Christmas Eve I think I will ever see.；
Oh what a faith
we have, what a Christ we have, what a God we have.
Puts things together and finally you can say Lord;
now I・m ready. Let Your servant depart in peace. And a final question. Very, very important. What are you waiting for this Christmas?
Are you waiting for a new experience with God?
God is close to you.
He is here. God is alive and He・s coming to you
and you probably don・t recognize Him like who recognized
that this little baby was Jesus.
Nobody! If God were to come to the world, most
people would look for super celebration not just the quiet
little baby. God is come to you. Watch, listen and embrace Him. Merry Christmas.