Wednesday, December 21, 2011


We know the story about the birth of Jesus.

We know the cast of characters.



Jesus (of course!)

Some shepherds.

The wise men.

But there's three other people who played a role in the early, early part of Jesus' life. And I think they each have something to teach us. Who might these souls be?



King Herod.

Let's begin with Simeon. Simeon was an old man living in Jerusalem, who was considered righteous and devout. He had been eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon Simeon, and he had been told that he would not die until he had looked upon the face of the Promised One.

One day, probably a day that began like any other day, Simeon was led of the Spirit to go to the Temple. There he came upon Mary and Joseph, who were there to present baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required.

Simeon recognized the Promise, the Deliverer, the Savior in the eyes of an infant.

Which is quite *something* when you think about it. Did Simeon know ahead of time that the Messiah would be born as a human child? Did he know that the Redeemer would come as a baby? I'm thinking not. But, he had faithand he was ready when faith revealed the Truth.

Listen to his words of praise:

"Sovereign Lord…I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to all the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!" (Luke 2:29-32)

Simeon saw a baby – and he recognized God.

His lesson?

We should anxiously anticipate the coming of the Lord. Yes, the actual coming of the Lord – but also the daily moments when Jesus "just shows up." We must follow close after the Holy Spirit, and be filled with His wisdom, so we will be able to recognize the Lord when He appears.

Because, you see, some of the ways He works in our lives is surprising unexpected situations, unanticipated timing, unusual people and we could miss Him if we're not on the lookout!

Next is Anna.

Anna was also very old(I like that the elderly are involved – makes me excited for old age!). She had lost her husband after only 7 years of marriage, and had lived as a widow until the age of 84! She was a prophet, and she was also at the Temple that day. Actually, Anna was always at the Temple – for she had never left – staying there day and night to worship God with fasting and prayer.

She saw Simeon talking with Mary and Joseph – and she immediately began praising God. She eagerly talked to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.

Anna saw a baby – and she recognized God.

Her lesson?

Anna had pursued Truth for years, and had led a disciplined life of faith. We must do the same. Spiritual pursuitsreading the Word, prayer, corporate worship – all are necessary to the life of faith. We must draw close to God in order to be ready when He reveals His purposes, His opportunities, His timing.

Like Simeon, Anna was on the lookout for the Savior. And when He came along, she was ready to spread the word. We should be like that, too – eager to tell everyone we can that the Redeemer of the world has arrived. Rescue is here!

Finally, King Herod.

Herod, the king of the Jews, had heard the rumors, I'm sure. And when the wise men showed up at his doorstep, asking where to find the new-born king of the Jews, he grew furious! Deeply disturbed, he did what many politicians do when there's a crisis he called a meeting.

It's interesting that Matthew 2:3 says that everyone in Jerusalem was disturbed – the meeting took place with the leading priests and teachers of religious law. Already, Jesus was stirring up controversy.

Herod tried to kill Jesus – sacrificing the lives of many young boys. But, warned by an angel, Joseph fled with his wife and son to Egypt.

There is an interesting parallel between this flight to Egypt and Israel's history. As an infant nation, Israel went to Egypt, just as Jesus did as a young child. God led Israel out through His deliverer, Moses – just as God would lead sinners out from slavery through THE Deliverer, Jesus.

Herod heard about a baby – and he feared God.

His lesson?

Jesus makes the devil very, very angry.

I wonder what he felt the day that he realized that the Son of God wasn't walking around heaven anymore. Did he wonder where Jesus went? What was his reaction when he realized the secret plan of God? I imagine that he was appalled at the audacity of God. Becoming human? How dare He??

And so, his pursuit began. I'm sure he prodded Herod toward his evil plan. It sounds like our enemytrying to kill a baby. When he was unsuccessful, I can only imagine the overriding strategy of Satan and his minions – STOP JESUS, at any cost!

Friends, when Jesus arrives in our lives – when we invite Him into our hearts – we can be sure that we will make the enemy very, very angry. Because, he sees Jesus in our hearts – his hated foe. And he will do everything in his power to STOP JESUS, at any cost – which means he will do his best to stop us.

Stop us from being productive, or joyful, or strong, or thankful. He’ll try to thwart us from spreading the word. He'll attempt to drive us to doubt, or discouragement, or despair. He'll tempt us and test us and try us and turn us against Jesus...

If he can.

But, we can take these good lessons to heart…

Look for the daily moments when Jesus "just shows up."

Follow the Holy Spirit closely.

Be filled with His wisdom, so we can recognize Jesus in surprising and unexpected ways.

Lead a disciplined life of faith.

Draw close to God.

Be ready for His purposes, His opportunities, and His timing.

Spread the word about Jesus and His Good News.

Expect to make the enemy angry.

But, never ever give up – seek always, with the Lord’s help, to be productive, joyful, strong, and thankful.

Do not give in to doubt, discouragement, or despair.

Stand firm against tempting and testing and trying circumstances.

For, dear friends, we serve a very special baby – a baby who became the King.

A baby who is our Risen King – forever!

What does the birth of Jesus teach you about your life?

(I am linked today with Joan at the GRACE CAFE. Please join us!)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Three unlikely characters with three great spiritual lessons of much value and truth!

    Many blessings Sharon... This is a profoundly deep insight to grab hold of the truths that you summed up so well form this lesson not from the key major roles in the Glory of Christmas but the not so prominent ones... like each of us, like me... so what's my role? or as you ask, what does Jesus birth teach me about my life?

    Jesus' birth story tells me that I am not as insignificant as I may seem, that every thing I do or say, will or should reflect His image and characteristics. As I follow Him closer with the Holy Spirit's guidance and wisdom, I will recognize those "Jesus" moments daily of Him just showing up or I may sad to say, see the "evil" in my own heart or life just like Herod...
    but being aware I can stop the doubt, discouragement and despair or any other unhealthy choice or habit that stand as an obstacle in my rebirth experience of living intentionally for Him, not me. I can stand firm against trial and temptations, pain or suffering because HE CAME to deliver me from living a life burdened with this stuff... He desires that I see Him in every moment.
    So even in those 'storms', I will look for Him to steady me, to hold me, to calm me... to rescue me as He shows me how to die to self to be born anew and glorious life sanctified only by HIS!

    Another great one!!! Thank you for this wonderful Christmas lesson...
    [so here's a challenge for you (not really)... what about the shepherds? or those wise guys following a star, what spiritual lessons do you have from them? Those that remain nameless (the Bible does not name them as some faiths do in other books) and in those days, from two very different walks of life. I think you've covered the inn keepers... (or maybe that was someone else) and how we must invite Him in and how we close doors to parts of of lives... so now onto the visitors!!!]

    Love your rich, colorful, vivid lessons that we can apply to our lives... HE STILL is the BEST GIFT WRAPPED... HIS PRESENCE, Immanuel=God with us, may He
    shine brightly for those who need a glimmer from that Star of Bethlehem!
    Love, Hope, Peace and JOY... with a BIG HUG, Peggy

  2. Amen...I spent yesterday morning reading on Simeon and was so touched through the writings by Max Lucado on Simeon. Thanks for sharing on the others she blesses me also.

    Great post as always...I so enjoy just hearing God speak to me through your writings...thanks for being obedient.

    Merry Christmas

  3. So true: we need to be waiting, watching and believing just as Anna and Simeon. We get caught up in our earthly lives and lose sight of the things of God.

  4. Sharon - this post is packed with wisdom and is one that I plan to read again. You know all three - Simeon, Anna, and Herod feared God. Simeon and Anna had a reverent respect for Him; Herod was just plain afraid (and jealous) that His kingdom might be overturned.

    I like what you said about looking for Jesus in the everyday moments. I grew up in a church where the focus was almost entirely on His second coming and I think many missed out on the fullness of relationship that can be found now.

    Blessings and Merry Christmas, my friend!


  5. I think the stories of Simeon and Anna are fab, so much to learn here. You are right about being able to recognise God, sometimes we don't realise that God is in front of us in the most humble form possible but Simeon and Anna did. Mary and Joseph were not rich, they could only offer 2 turtle doves but these 2 people still saw God incarnate. Amazing.

  6. This is one of the most instructive posts I have read this holiday season. I love the lessons you shared. What a wonderful reminder for me. Sometimes, I feel as if I have a big old target on my backside. This post reminds me that there IS a target, but it's on my heart and it's not me at all. It's Him.

  7. Sharon, thank you so much for pouring your love of God into your posts...they have blessed me beyond words. Merry Christmas to you my dear friend.

  8. Sharon, I am so thankful the Lord uses you as He does to teach His wonderful word. You are a true blessing.
    I think I already wished you Merry Christmas, but in case I didn't--Merry Christmas again!

  9. Great Post! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  10. Wonderful post. I always wonder will we recognize Jesus when he does return. I guess in your heart you will know and trust in whom leads you. May you and your family have a very blessed Christmas.

  11. Hi Sharon,

    What can I add to what others have already said. As always an excellent, well put, enlightening post, which is very thought provoking.

    God Bless and wishing you again, a Wonderful Blessed Christmas

  12. Anna and Simeon saw a baby and recognized God. Love how you brought this out. Each of them could see beyond just the natural. As you every day God is around us but we often don't recognize him. Wishing you a Merry Christmas Sharon.


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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