Tonight, I was driving home from work and wondering how I was going to fit everything in before Christmas day. We still had a lot of preparation to be done, wrapping last minute gifts, cleaning the house, baking cookies, and preparing food. Christmas Eve is only a few days away. With my head spinning, I made a slight detour and stopped at a life size crèche that a local Roman Catholic church puts up every year.
The crèche is in the Italian ornate style and has an impressive 12 figures, including the animals. The details are impeccable, it is as if one has stepped directly into the scene. They obviously took great care in erecting the stable. As I stepped out of the car and approached the manger, I was surprised to find that the baby Jesus was not there. Of course, I thought, not until Christmas Eve. Than I thought, I want to be there when they lay him in the hay. I want to see him.
In today’s scripture reading an older righteous, devout man named Simeon is there when Mary and Joseph present Jesus at the temple to dedicate him to the Lord. God had promised Simeon that he would see the consolation of Israel before he died. Simeon is there at the temple, waiting to see Jesus. And when he does, he says the following words.
‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.’
Standing before the crèche tonight with this reading from Luke in my heart, my mind became peaceful. I knew I didn’t have to be wait for Christmas Eve for the arrival of Jesus. He is already here and as a believer I carry his light with me. All I need to do is pause long enough to recognize him. May you pause this season to recognize Christ’s presence in your own life.