S‑1092 12/31/2008 New Year’s Eve/3B Hymns: (O)#124; (S)#123; L.S. #125; (C)#47
Texts: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Romans 8:31-38; Matthew 6:25-34
Theme: “Until Tomorrow, Treasure Today” (Luke 2:29-30)
Question: “Do you know who tomorrow holds?”
Armour, SD. SOLI DEO GLORIA.
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the Gospel lesson: “he [Simeon] took Him [Jesus] 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 Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.’” (Luke 2:28-32).
Saints in Christ, I am sure if it were possible to peek into the New Year; it would be fun to see what God has in store for us. On the other hand it would spoil the fun if the surprises would be pleasant. And if the future was turbulent and troublesome we would be frightened indeed
Many people don’t live for today. They live for tomorrow. They often say “When I grow up, when I get out of high school, when I get done with college, when I get married, when I get the good job, when I have enough money, when I retire, etc. etc.” The sad reality is that “when” never arrives. We keep looking for tomorrow without enjoying today.
Even children have the problem we adults face. They don’t enjoy the moment of today either. Have you spent any time with a young kid lately? If you have, you would agree that is so real. I remember when we got together for a Christmas get together; one of the kids opened a Christmas gift he had gotten. No sooner had the gift been opened, he threw it on the floor and said, “What’s next?” How many times we ask “What’s next?”
In the text before us today, Luke reminds us again by looking at an old man—Simeon to learn from him to cherish this day. For as the saying goes, yesterday is gone, tomorrow may never come, but today is a gift from God. Yesterday’s mistakes are behind us, tomorrow’s have not arrived; and all we have is the present.
Simeon was a man who waited on the Lord for tomorrow, but he cherished today. He waited for the right time when God would reveal His salvation to him, but while he waited he treasured the day. The days of Simeon were filled relying on God’s mercy and grace as he spent it in the Temple of God. When finally the day arrived by the revelation of Jesus in the temple Simeon was ready to leave this earth in peace.
Oh, how much we can learn from this wise man. He took God’s Word to heart. He trusted that what God said, He would do. But while he waited on the Lord he cherished today. He enjoyed today like it is the last day of his life. And when God in His mercy revealed the Savior, Simeon had no problem saying, “I am ready to depart and go to be with You Lord forever”.
Did you know dear saints in Christ that the life of the believing child of God, the Christian, is always a life of waiting. That waiting becomes more and more difficult as time passes and, oh, how more eager for the end or the gift or the awaited answer. Perhaps you young people and children felt these as you were getting ready for Christmas: “CAN WE OPEN OUR PRESENTS NOW, MOM, DAD?” and then, when the time finally came, “OH, WOW, THIS IS JUST WHAT I WAS WAITING FOR!” or, “THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED OR HOPED FOR”.
It was Christmas for Simeon so long ago. He was a child of God. He had been taught of the blessings and promises of God. And he was waiting. He experienced that waiting even until his old age. Finally that day came! There in the Temple, Joseph, Mary, and the Baby Jesus! Joseph and Mary had brought the baby Jesus to the Temple to fulfill the requirements in the Law of God. And there in the Temple, Simeon gave his praise to God. He had been given that special privilege to see the baby Jesus. He certainly cherished that day.
In the Bible, God gives so many promises. And at this time of the year we are especially thinking of the promises that God gave about the Savior coming into the world. We just celebrated again the birth of that Savior at Christmas.
As we picture this scene in the Temple, we can also think of Simeon who was indeed celebrating the birth of the Savior—it was like Christmas Day for him. Tomorrow for Simeon had come. Tomorrow was unveiled for Simeon. Tomorrow began to take place in the life of this child of God who waited patiently for God to fulfill His promise.
Until Tomorrow, Treasure Today. Why? Because today is what the Lord has given us as His beloved Children. And what better time to cherish today than the present. Tonight we stand at the portals of one year closing and another year beginning. Tonight, we can be like Simeon realizing that the Lord is the pilot of our lives and He will guide and guards our steps in the future. Tonight, we are assured again that we may not know what tomorrow holds, but we do know who holds tomorrow. Worrying doesn’t necessarily empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but it can empty today of its strength. (repeat twice)
One of our saints shared this tid-bit with me that I have included it in the August Goel of this year: “I don’t know what is ahead in this journey, but I know that Jesus is ahead. I don’t know what chapter will follow this one, because it’s the Lord’s story to write, not mine. All I have is today. He hasn’t given me tomorrow yet, and maybe He won’t, but I have His promise that even if He doesn’t, I will still be alive in His presence but then face to face. That means the best is yet to come.
Certainly we can cherish today, because Jesus is with us now and in the future. Jesus has assured us that His promise is sure and certain. We had just knelt at the foot of the manger. We had heard the messages of the shepherds, angels, and others telling us about our Jesus who was born to save us. And we also remember that this baby was born as Simeon reminded us saying: “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed” (Luke 2:34).
Beloved in the Lord, Simeon rejoiced in God’s gift today, and so can we! And the good news is we don’t have to wait till tomorrow to receive the blessings from God. For the blessings of God comes to us daily in His Word and here at His table. We know that we are the blood-bought by the Lord. We know that we are forgiven now. We are the baptized children today. Today, we cherish the blessings of God coming to us in His holy meal. Today, we cherish the forgiveness we receive from the loving hands of God our Savior. Today, we receive the joy that we are the redeemed of the Lord.
Today, we stand as it were, on the border between two great regions through which the way of our life, the way to salvation leads us. Today, we leave the one through which we have already traveled and to which there is no way to return to it. But we also soon enter, the land that is unknown to us, but known to God. And so we are inspired by the past and Spirit-spired by the present and future-spired by the Savior who stands outside of time yet dwells within us. We do well to daily sing the Simeon song!
Until Tomorrow, Treasure Today, because this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Amen.
Now the peace…