The First Sunday of Christmas

Alfred Gorvie

Crisis or Kairos

Luke 2:22-40 
The First Sunday of Christmas 
Analysis by Glenn L. Monson

22When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.  27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word, 30for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.  34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul, too.” 36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.  38At that moment she came and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him.

Presentation of Christ in the Temple – Merry-Joseph Blondel (1781–1853) – From Wikimedia Commons

One has come who not only reveals my inner thoughts, but holds them in divine love, and blankets them with forgiveness.”

Diagnosis: Crisis

Step 1: Initial Diagnosis (External Problem): Too Soon 
The Lord’s Messiah is here? Wait, why did no one tell me he was coming. I’m not ready. And besides, I’ve got agendas to complete and treasures to sock away and positions to protect. It’s not that I don’t want the Lord’s Messiah to come, it’s just that I’m not sure I want him to come just now, to me.

Step 2: Advance Diagnosis (Internal Problem): Too Invasive
This Messiah is going to reveal the inner thoughts of many, you say. Again, that sounds like a fine idea, if you are talking about those scoundrels whose wickedness needs outing, but me, I’m not perfect – hey, is anyone? – but having my inner thoughts revealed sounds a little invasive. Is that necessary?

Step 3: Final Diagnosis (Eternal Problem): Too Dangerous
Why does this Messiah have to be wielding a sword that will pierce my soul? That sounds bloody and even life-threatening. What? You say. You mean dying is necessary to follow this Christ? I think I’ll opt out on following this guy. I’d rather do without this sort of Messiah. I see no way out of this crisis; clinging to my life, I lose it.


I put myself in God’s hands – From Canva

Prognosis: Kairos

Step 4: Initial Prognosis (Eternal Solution): Such Good News!
This Messiah brings the redemption of Jerusalem, says Anna. This child is destined for the rising and falling of many, says Simeon. Redemption, Resurrection, and Crucifixion; it’s all there in this One. This One falls into the hands of evildoers, suffers, dies, and then is raised. He takes our crisis to himself, and gives us instead his Kairos, his precious time of promise. And what is the result? The world is redeemed!

Step 5: Advanced Prognosis (Internal Solution): Such Grace!
Anna’s heart has become my heart. Simeon’s song has become my song. I praise God that one has come who not only reveals my inner thoughts, but holds them in divine love, and blankets them with forgiveness. I take joy that God’s salvation has been revealed, and I pray that more and more the world will see and turn to this Messiah.

Step 6: Final Prognosis (External Solution): Such Freedom!
I prepare myself to meet this One who has come to redeem the world. I put myself in God’s hands, saying, “Dismiss me now, according to your word, for I have seen your salvation.” Multiplying my treasures, protecting my turf, and completing my agendas no longer seems so compelling. I am free of those obsessions. Following the lead of the Spirit is what I am attentive to now. It is a whole new life for me.