Dear CCOV Family,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I can still say “Merry Christmas” because Christmas lasts for 12 days! That’s why on Sunday, Dec. 31st we will continue to sing Christmas carols, ones we didn’t get to sing on Christmas Eve. Because we are going to spend some time this winter and spring talking about some of the more obscure men of the Bible, you will hear this Sunday all about Simeon, also a figure in the Christmas story. Simeon was an old man who had been waiting a lifetime to see the Messiah. When Simeon met Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus (who was just 40 days old) in the Temple, he saw the baby and broke into an inspired song starting with, “My eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” Simeon’s words are what we call the Nunc Dimittis, which you may enjoy hearing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing on You Tube. Simeon declares Jesus to be the means of salvation for all people, Jew and Gentile alike, and he sings of the light that has come into the darkness of this world. He and the old prophetess Anna, who both recognize the baby to be the Messiah that day in the Temple, are themselves representatives of all of Israel: two old people, one male and the other female, poised in anticipation of a new era.
In many ways we too stand on the cusp of something new: a New Year! This time of year we look backwards and forwards. Some are anxious to put 2017 behind them; others find comfort in the familiar. Some embrace 2018 with much hope, but others are still waiting for breakthroughs and answered prayer: peace on earth, a clean bill of health, and a hopeful future. Like Simeon and Anna, we also live in a time-between-times. We are not yet at the consummation of all things, but we are active participants in the coming Kingdom of God. Therefore, let us greet the New Year with hope: The light has broken into the darkness. We have a good God who came to us as one of us, and we have the love and fellowship of one another. See you in church!