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ADVENT 2021: DAY 13 - The Heart of Hope & the Power of Patience


By Pastor Courtney Hall (Fri. Dec. 10, 2021)

“There’s a delivery at the door!” That’s a phrase often heard around our house these days, and maybe never more so than in the season of Advent, as Christmas purchases arrive ready for wrapping & waiting under the tree.

When you think about, the whole idea of exchanging presents prepared with purpose for opening on December 25 is a wonderful exercise in PATIENCE. We recognize that we are waiting to open those gifts because there is a day prepared for the opening, when all will celebrate together in the joy of the love that has been shared.

As a child, I can remember circling our Christmas tree like a hawk over its prey during the days of Advent’s anticipation. With eagle eyes I peered through the boughs to see the tags and labels on each artfully wrapped gift, marking with precision wherever I spied a package bearing my name! Perhaps nothing excites a child so much as knowing, “There’s a gift under there for me!”

On the other hand, come December 25, did you ever find a present under the tree that some harried present wrapper had forgotten to label? Weeks have passed since it was wrapped. Everyone has placed so many packages under the tree by that point that it’s anyone’s guess to whom it belongs. I’ve had some laughter over the years at moments like that, suddenly swapping out my Santa hat for Sherlock Holmes’ deerstalker cap in an effort to "follow the clues" and deduce the intended recipient for this mystery package. Of course you can just rip the thing open for all to see—but presents ought to be opened by the one for whom they’re intended.

Luke chapter two tells of a man named Simeon who had received a very personal promise of a gift for him from God: “it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah [i.e. the foretold Savior]” (Luke 2:26). We don’t know exactly how the Holy Spirit impressed upon Simeon this promise of seeing the Savior. Suffice it to say, Simeon must have had a relationship with God intimate enough to hear clearly from Him personally and also mature enough in the Scriptures and the faith for God to entrust him with this kind of a promise of such an amazing gift.

Simeon was advanced in age by the time of Jesus' birth. It’s conceivable that he’d held onto this promise for a long time, maybe many years, perhaps even a lifetime. However long it was, like waiting to open any gift, it must have required of him patience. But ultimately, his waiting was rewarded. For suddenly came the moment when the Spirit rang Simeon’s internal bell at last, as if to say: “The time has arrived! There’s a delivery at the door!”

On that day “he came in the Spirit into the temple…when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to [dedicate] Him…. Then [Simeon] took [Jesus] into his arms and blessed God and said, ‘Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your promise, for my eyes have seen Your salvation…’” (Luke 2:27-30).

Certain promises of God are so personal that other people around us may not be able to understand them. As with the unlabeled gift under the tree, they may question, “Who is this for?” But the Lord says to eagerly desire His greatest gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1), which are always about making you a beacon of His light to the world (Matthew 5:14-16), just as He did with Simeon, whose story still inspires us two thousand years after he died.

Remember that the Lord says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt 7:7). In fact, Jesus is knocking at your door today (Revelation 3:20) with a delivery: the gift of PATIENCE. It’s got your name on it. He knows your name (Isaiah 43:1) and He’s got a great many more promises in store for you (Jeremiah 29:11), which will only be received by patience (cf. Habakkuk 2:3-4). So though it may come after much waiting, and even if all you have at the moment is the Lord's promise, keep your eyes and ears open for the day of fulfillment. God WILL do what He has said in, for, and through you--don't miss His delivery!



"Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous & devout….It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus…Simeon took Him in his arms & praised God, saying: 'Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You may now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation…a light for revelation to the Gentiles, & the glory of Your people Israel.’"

(Excerpt above is vv. 25-32; cf. also Isaiah 40:31; Habakkuk 2:3-4.)

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