December 23, 2008

Lectionary Leanings - Celebrate!

December 28
Isaiah 61:10-62:3, Psalm 148, Galatians 4:4-7, Luke 2:22-40

While the Advent journey takes us through an emotional rollercoaster of joy, fear, humility, and anticipation, there is no other emotion to guide the days after Christmas than pure celebration. Each of the readings for this Sunday call us to take a deep breath of relief, to look around at the beauty of what God has done, and to simply enjoy it.

As an avid user of Facebook, I have come to realize that people are excited and grateful for many things in their lives. I frequently check on the status updates of friends and family and get to hear all about the amazing pie they just had at a local deli, or how terrific their new fuzzy socks are. But these updates are not always so material. Facebook is now often the first place where friends announce engagements or tell the world that they are expecting a child. We simply cannot be silent, we can’t hold our tongues (or our fingers) still one moment longer and must tell the world about the joys in our life.

The question is, do we do the same for those experiences of God’s grace? Do we rush to the computer to promptly type in “Katie just witnessed the good news of God in…”? Do we even share those encounters with the risen Christ when we head to church on Sunday? Sometimes, but usually not.

Our scriptures from Luke for this Sunday tell us of two people who simply couldn’t be silent when they encountered the Christ-child. Perhaps it was the fact that Anna and Simeon had been waiting for such a long time to see the Messiah. Perhaps they were just more in tune with the power of the Holy Spirit after lifetimes of faithful service to God. Or maybe they just allowed themselves to be overcome by the joy of the moment and couldn’t help but be silent. In any case, both Anna and Simeon rushed to the new parents and their infant son, God-in-the-flesh, and gave praise to God.

We don’t know much about what happened to Simeon after this encounter with God. He had been promised after all that he would not see death before he had witnessed the coming of the Messiah. But we do know that Anna simply couldn’t keep her mouth shut about the good news of God. Luke writes that she began to tell the story of this amazing child to everyone that was looking for redemption and hope in the city of Jerusalem.

She may have been eighty-four years old, but she wasn’t going to let anything stop her from sharing what she had experienced. Maybe she thought in the back of her mind of our text from Isaiah today: “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest.” If an eighty-four year old woman can share the joy of this birth with all of those around her—why aren’t we?

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