December 26, 2014
Read Luke 2:21-24.
They brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. Luke 2:22B
Our Nativity scene has the baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and the angel and shepherds. The only figures left in my collection are the wise men. But they weren’t part of the first Christmas gathering. In fact, at the moment the shepherds were hurrying to find the baby, the wise men were just first seeing the star in their own countries. They still had to gather their provisions and set out on their long journey to meet the King of the Jews.
So on Christmas morning I like to put my wise men on the opposite side of the room from the Nativity scene, and slowly move them closer and closer each day through the twelve days of Christmas until they arrive at Jesus’ feet on Epiphany Day, January 6. Since today is the second day of Christmas, they still have a long way to go.
In the meantime, during these twelve days of Christmas, we will be looking at two events that occurred in the life of the infant Jesus before the wise men arrived. On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day we will speak about His circumcision and naming, which occurred when Jesus was eight days old. But in the meantime we will jump ahead to a special event that occurred when Jesus was 40 days old.
Forty days after an Israelite woman gave birth to a son, she was to be purified and her firstborn male child was to be presented to the Lord. This set Jesus apart for a life of service to God-a service that would include living a perfect life and require His suffering and death to take the curse of sin, death, and hell away from us forever.
In our Baptism God joined us together with Jesus and set each of us apart for lives of service to Him. He forgives our sins for Jesus’ sake. He gives us Jesus’ own righteousness, makes us His own children, and fills us with His Holy Spirit. Like Jesus, we dedicate our lives to serving others and telling them the joyful news of the eternal Kingdom Jesus won for us all through His life, death, and resurrection. When our earthly lives reach their end, Jesus Himself will present us to our Heavenly Father, and welcome us into our eternal home.
THE PRAYER: Jesus, by Your presentation, When they blessed You, weak and poor, Make us see Your great salvation, Seal us with Your promise sure; And present us in Your glory To Your Father, cleansed and pure. Amen.
Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Reverend Wayne Palmer