Do you remember when you were a child how Christmas was exciting and magical? How you spent the weeks leading up to Christmas day imagining, wondering, and guessing over the gifts which were under the tree. With great expectancy you wake up on Christmas day and run to the presents and tear open your gifts with a delight rarely felt at other times of the year.
As an adult those feelings of excitement and expectancy seems to be long gone. Christmas has become more stressful than enjoyable. There are moments when you see the joy and expectancy in a child’s eye. But your Christmas is filled with knocking out the shopping list, getting cards in the mail, preparing the Christmas meal, traveling to relatives, and a 1000 other tasks which cause stress and take us away from the true magic of Christmas.
A Building Expectancy
To truly understand our attitude during Christmas we need to unwrap a brief story in the New Testament about a man named Simeon. Simeon was said to be a righteous and devout individual. Other than those two words we do not know much else about Simeon. Other than it had been revealed to him that he would not die until he saw the Christ’s Messiah.
To put this into context, the Messiah had been prophesied for hundreds of years. It had been foretold of a an individual who would come and save the Jewish people and the “government would rest upon his shoulders.” In the time Simeon was living they were under Roman rule. The Jewish people had certain freedoms, but they still had to live under Roman law. The Roman government would let the Jewish people live as they pleased, as long as they did not cause a disturbance. But how they were ruled depended upon who was ruling Rome at the their province at the time.
It was believed this Messiah would come and rescue the Jewish people from this oppression. But the prophets had been quiet for several hundred years and at the time Jesus was born no one really knew what was going on with God, the Messiah, or even their customs.
A Great Expectancy
But Simeon was given a prophetic word that he would see the Messiah before he died. Simeon was given a special gift unlike any unwrapped in the history of man. Can you imagine the expectancy he had each day as he would wake up and wonder “is this the day?” To look into the eyes of every mother who passed by holder her young child and looking with excitement and expectancy to wonder “is this the child?” Waking up every morning with a joy of knowing something special was happening, even if you could not see it.
Simeon’s life had to be dramatically transformed because he was expectant of a gift unlike any gift ever delivered. This expectancy changed his life, how he viewed life, and I would have to imagine how he viewed death. His words upon holding the Christ child in Luke 2:29-32 reveal a focus and belief unlike we see in many individuals.
When you lose expectancy you lose a sense of what is to come. You look at Christmas from the lens of all the little tasks and to-do’s you have to accomplish. In the process you have lost the expectancy of unwrapping the greatest gift given to us. The real reason behind Christmas.
We celebrate Christmas because Jesus left Heaven and came to earth as a man to save us from our own sins. A gift he did not have to give and we certainly do not deserve. But a gift he delivered anyway. This gift should make us wake up every day, like Simeon, and ask the question “is today the day?” Is today the day I meet the Messiah, serve others, or live my life for a greater cause?
It is a question only you can answer. But a question which could dramatically transform your life. This Christmas ask yourself where the expectancy of this holiday went? Why do you not look at the gift you have been given with the expectancy of a child being given the greatest gift of all. Although Simeon’s time in the scriptures is brief, his impact is powerful. He allowed himself to be available to fulfill a promise. This promise caused Simeon to live everyday of his life with overwhelming joy and expectancy.
What is stopping you from living the same way this Christmas?
This Christmas take some time to reflect upon the gift from Christ. The grace, mercy, and love which were bestowed upon you without you deserving such a wonderful gift. This should not only make you look at Christmas differently. You should wake up every with an expectancy which dramatically transforms how you see and live life.