One of my favorite parts of Christmas is imparting a few family traditions to my children. One tradition that both my sons seemed to enjoy was making countdown rings. If you are unfamiliar with countdown rings, it is when you connect a certain amount of paper rings together and remove one ring a day until the day you are celebrating arrives. While making these is a bit time-consuming, it does help my children see how many days until Christmas. I enjoy watching my sons take a ring off, count the remaining rings, and tell me how many days until Christmas. Making these rings seems to keep them expectedly patient through the Christmas season.
1. What is your family’s way of helping the days before Christmas pass quicker?
One Christmas pet peeve of mine is when I see wise men at the nativity scene. I can understand the merit and the account found in the Gospel of Matthew, but the timeline of wise men from the east visiting baby Jesus does not fit. On top of that, if we continue reading the Gospel of Luke past the angels and the shepherds we find a person who should be in more nativity scenes. That man was Simeon.
Luke 2:21-24 says, “And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.’”
2. Why did Joseph and Mary take Jesus to the Temple?
Luke 2:25-26 continues, “Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon 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.”
3. Why could we infer that Simeon had the right standing with God?
One major theological takeaway we must have is the details about the Holy Spirit. While every mention of the Holy Spirit should cause us to pause and ensure proper understanding, the details with Simeon are worth noting.
4. Where does the Bible say the Holy Spirit “was” in relation to Simeon? What is the difference between that and the way the Holy Spirit resides with us?
5. What did the Holy Spirit reveal to Simeon? Was that good news or bad news?
Luke continues, “And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, ‘Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel’” (Luke 2:27-32).
6. What is the significance of these verses?
7. How is it that Simeon put so much emphasis on a baby boy?
Luke 2:33-35 concludes, “And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.’”
8. If you were Mary or Joseph, how would you have handled these moments?
The most amazing part of this entire moment is that it encapsulates the entirety of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit Who revealed to the prophets that the Messiah would one day be born also revealed to a temple priest that the “Consolation of Israel” was swaddled up in His mother’s arms. Then Simeon, whom the Holy Spirit was upon, brought him into the room and proceeds to say that the child was “appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” To be extra pointed, Simeon tells Mary that “a sword will pierce through your own soul also” in reference to the eventual death of Jesus on the Cross.
John 1:9-13 says, “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
9. How was it that Simeon was able to see the light of Jesus, despite the fact that Jesus was just an infant?
10. What must a person do to become a child of God? Have you done that?
While we all may want to put a countdown on various events and celebratory moments, there is only one day that we all live in, and that day is today. If you want more information about what the Holy Spirit might be revealing to you about Jesus please reach out to any of our staff or a Pastor for help guiding you closer to Jesus.