And here they were. About thirty days after Jesus’s birth, Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to present Him to God as their first born. It was a part of the Jewish law passed down since the time of Moses.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the [nations],
and for glory to your people Israel.”
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. (Luke 2:25-33)
The angel announced Him. The shepherds praised Him. Mary and Joseph named Him. And now, Simeon proclaims God’s salvation. The God who saves, Jesus, is the good news of great joy. Just as the angel announced and Simeon proclaims, that good news is for all people. Even though we live in a world today where there are still nearly 1,000 ethnic groups who have never had contact with someone who could tell them the good news of great joy, we know one day they will hear. The Apostle John tells us,
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you [Jesus] to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Rev 5:9-10, emphasis added)
The blessing of Christmas is not about what happens Tuesday morning around the Christmas tree, even though the giving of gifts, the love we feel for our family and friends, the hope for peace, and the traditions we celebrate emanate from those magnificent events surrounding the birth of Jesus more than 2,000 years ago. The great blessing of the Christmas story is God invading human history as a precious baby to give Himself so that others could also see His salvation, just as Simeon. Then, just as Simeon, we have the privilege to proclaim it to every tribe, language, people, and nation.