light and glory for the new year

by Pastor Mark Jordan

“You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples. It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles and a glory for your people Israel.” (Luke 2:31-32, CEB)

Today’s Bible lesson comes from the Baby Jesus’ dedication at the temple. The words from today’s verse were uttered by Simeon, an man who was promised by God he would not die until he saw the glory of God revealed in the Messiah. The verses preceding our text for today show us that Simeon was led by the Holy Spirit into the temple where he saw Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus. He took Jesus in his arms and did two things that should be an example for all of us: (1) he remembered God’s promise, and (2) gave thanks for the revelation of its fulfillment, knowing his life would never be the same.

As we prepare to close out 2017 today, may we follow Simeon’s example. Look back over your year — the good and not-so-good of it — and see where God was at work with, in, and for you. Look forward with anticipation for what lies in store for 2018, for it will be filled with good things and things that aren’t quite as good, too. Still, Immanuel, or God with us, will be present with you in all of it, helping you celebrate the highs, and comforting you in the lows.

Take one more little glance at today’s passage, if you will, where Simeon referred to the presence of Jesus, and the salvation he brings, as glory for God’s people and a light for those who do not yet believe. The New Year will come in darkness, just like Christmas did; yet as the dawn breaks, there will be ample opportunities to celebrate and comfort all people in all circumstances. For salvation has come in the form of a little baby, bringing the light to all to illuminate the way to God’s truth and life. Your life will never be the same because of Jesus, so may you live with the hope of heaven in 2018, and in all that comes your way.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for giving birth to the hope of a new year and a new life in you. I look back over 2017 and reflect over how you were with me in the good days and the bad. Help me to remember your promise that you will be with me in the new year as well, and empower me to be with others providing both the celebration and comfort of heaven. I ask this in Jesus’ holy name, amen.