12/19/18 – Pastor Brian’s Blog 

It is exactly 6 days before the day that every young child dreams about:  Christmas. Christmas! That day when you come downstairs and see all the gifts under the tree that were not there when you went to bed. Those stockings that were flat and empty when you went to bed, are now overflowing with candy and all kinds of trinkets, trinkets that will end up getting lost in all the wrapping paper that is going to be thrown around the room very shortly!

I remember as a kid looking forward to Christmas. I remember being told to go to bed on Christmas Eve, only to sneak out of the bedroom with my brother to lay at the top of the stairs watching my parents bring out the presents. Presents, by the way, that I had tried on numerous occasions to peek in, to see what I was getting. One habit that I must admit even Judy has not been able to break me of!!

Christmas, at least when I was a child, was truly The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Although, there was that one Christmas… yet another Christmas Eve when I should have stayed in bed. I will never forget that night! My parents had moved to the kitchen from the living room, so instead of staying at my normal position at the top of the stairs, I moved back into my bedroom and peeked through the floor vent down into the kitchen. That was the very night I saw what Santa Claus really looked like!  Santa… was a spitting image of my father!!

But enough about my Christmas memories!  I want to tell you about a woman that is not often mentioned in the Christmas story.  She did not have to wait merely 12 months for Christmas to arrive; she waited at least 84 years for Christmas to arrive!  This woman’s name is Anna, and you can read her story in Luke 2:36-38.

Anna had been married for only 7 years when her husband died. By all accounts, Anna never had any children. Yet Luke tells us that for the next eighty-four years, Anna never left the temple, but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying, longing to meet the Messiah. Think about it: 84 years looking for the Messiah, waiting for Christmas to arrive. I struggle to wait a month to celebrate Christmas, but waiting 84 years?!

There must have been days when Anna didn’t feel “in the Christmas spirit,” there must have been those people who said to Anna, “You’re here again?!” And really, who would have blamed Anna if she had taken a day off or even had quit all together?

Then one day everything changes. And because Anna did not quit due to her faithfulness to God, God positioned her at the right place at the right time.  She was there to hear and see Simeon declaring Baby Jesus as the Messiah, the One send by God, to take away the sins of the world.

For some, Christmas can be the best of times or it can be the worst of times. Chuck Swindoll said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” As you approach Christmas, are you experiencing the best of times or the worst of times? Do you have thoughts about quitting on God, because He hasn’t responded as quickly as you wanted Him too? Have you given up, because you didn’t like God’s answer? Or has Satan, the one that is “seeking to devour you, ” changed your focus from the reason for the season and stolen your joy?

If this is you, you might want to reconsider quitting on God.  You might want to clear up your vision, because when we quit or when we are focused on the wrong things, we have no idea what we might miss.

Anna was in the right place at the right time because she was faithful. She had refused to quit God’s calling on her life and because she remained focused on God, she was able to see the Christ Child and it changed her life… She (Anna) gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:38

As a Christian, Christmas just isn’t the same when your focus is on the wrong things or when you have quit or are considering quitting on God. 84 years of waiting gives one a long time to think, but because Anna remained faithful, she saw the Messiah and she couldn’t stop talking about Jesus.

We all know that good news is not meant to be kept to yourself, it is meant to be shared!  Anna shared the good news wherever she went, unashamedly, boldly; and the good news was this: “The redemption of Jerusalem” has come. The real meaning of Christmas doesn’t come from the gifts that we will receive next week; the real meaning of Christmas was the gift that was given over 2000 years ago… For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

J. Wilbur Chapman wrote a song and the chorus goes like this… “Living, He loved me! Dying, He saved me! Buried, He carried my sins far away! Rising, He justified freely, forever: One day He’s coming, O glorious day!” This is the real meaning of Christmas!

No matter where you find yourself today, no matter how difficult your life is, no matter how overwhelming your circumstances may seem, do not allow Satan to use these things to push you away from God; but allow the Holy Spirit to use these things to draw your heart to God so that this could be said about you… “She gave thanks to God.” Luke 2:38

Hey! Let’s get excited! Let’s share the good news! We don’t have to wait! Christmas has arrived! Come and see…