The Christmas Story Brings Us Hope

The evangelist, Luke, takes us through a wonderful account in the first part of his Gospel. He tells us about the important details of the birth of Jesus and introduces us to key characters in his narrative. One of those very special characters is Simeon, a man worth taking the time to learn from.

Luke describes Simeon as a pious and just man who expected the “consolation” of Israel (Luke 2:25-35); that is, he was waiting for the “comfort” that the coming of the Messiah would bring to Israel. When reading this Biblical passage, it would be good to ask ourselves: “What is the greatest hope that is found within our hearts?” The way Simeon waited for the coming of the Savior should be the way every child of God waits for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ a second time.

It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the coming Messiah. He was about to see this promise fulfilled. Simeon, now a very old man, walked to the temple as usual, but on that day there was something very special. The Holy Spirit prompted him to go to the temple at a precise moment and at an exact time. What a big surprise awaited Simeon!! In the heart of this man burned a single truth, he would not die without first having seen the Savior. He continually expected this promise to be fulfilled This is why he tried to live as a just and pious man. Simeon was what we could call a true Christian. He was upright in dealing with his neighbor, and faithful to God in complying with the law.

This is how we must live and this is how we must grow. Simeon expected the consolation of Israel, for the time in which his people lived was one of the most difficult times in their history. The Roman Empire had the people under great oppression, including the imposition of unfair taxes. He understood that everything human and earthly was not lasting. Only God remains forever, only in Jesus, the Messiah, would there be consolation and salvation. What would this consolation consist of? It would be enlightenment to the Gentiles and glory to his people Israel.

Without Jesus, the world remains in darkness, paganism and idolatry. Irrationality surrounds our society. In a world that is said to be so modern, so advanced in science and technology, so connected through the use of social networks, there is yet this very sad reality that humanity has come to: we value the life of an animal more than that of a growing baby. It is a world where deceit and lies dominate and where evil continues to increase. To this world Jesus continues to offer his grace, the truth continues to show that only He is the way, and the only opportunity for salvation.

For the Jewish people, it was and will continue to be the privilege of being the nation from which the Messiah, the Savior, was born; a people unique in its purpose which will be completed at the second coming of the Lord in the end times. For each of us today, the powerful truth that there is salvation only in Christ should fill us with joy and gratitude as we experience the reality of salvation day by day. On the cross, the Lord exclaimed with a loud voice: “It is finished” (John 19:30). No, there is nothing left to do, everything has been done in Jesus. Let us remember that as His children, the Church is the bearer of the good news of salvation. All the glory, all the adoration and all the praise is given to our Savior!! This is truly the Christmas story. 

Patty Barona is the Spanish speaking pastor at Iglesia del Nazareno Nuevo Comienzo in Exeter. She is from Ecuador and has been serving in the Central Valley for the last 20 years and in Exeter the last seven months.

Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors, and guest laypeople, of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church and Lemon Cove Community Church. 

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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