The Fourth Day of Christmas: Simeon and The Practice of Awe

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December 28, 2014

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Luke 2:21-24

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
    which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.”

CONSIDER THIS

aweHere’s a great practice for this, the Fourth Day of Christmas: The Practice of Awe.

Awe is not a warm and fuzzy worshipful feeling. Becoming Awe-Inspired doesn’t come from singing. Singing arises from becoming Awe-Inspired. The Practice of Awe, or becoming Awe-Struck or Awe-Inspired, comes from beholding Jesus in all his ordinary humanness and in all his mysterious divinity. Awe is a posture of beholding God, not a feeling about God.

Here’s what I mean by the practice of awe, which is the fruit beholding and becoming.

You remember from our reading on the third day of Christmas the bit about God making provision for the poor in the Law; how Jesus’ parents brought those two turtle doves as a sacrifice because they could not afford a lamb.

Here’s the Big Kicker I promised you yesterday.

Behold this: The ones who could not afford a lamb to sacrifice carried in their arms the Lamb of God whose sacrifice would take away the sins of the World. As they walked into the Temple that day they carried in their arms one who was greater than the Temple. As they approached the priest to fulfill the obligations of the Law, they carried in their arms the mystery of the Gospel, the perfect Love of God in fragile human flesh.

This is Awe-Inspiring. Yes, it’s something you feel, but it cannot be reduced to a feeling. To be Awe-Struck is the gift of God wherein the totality of the human spirit comes under the sovereignty of the totality of the Holy Spirit.

The countless host of Heaven never cease beholding the Awe-Inspiring Majesty of Jesus. Consequently, they never cease becoming Awe-Struck by his Mercy. They never stop practicing Awe, always loudly crying out,

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!. . .  To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power forever and ever! Amen!”

In today’s text, Simeon shows us what it looks like to be Awe-Struck on Earth:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
    which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.”

Your turn. . . . .

On the fourth day of Christmas. . . . .

J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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