Simeon believed. He didn’t merely exist, letting the days go by unmarked, unmindful of greater things being done in the heavens, oblivious to the work the Lord was doing to prepare the world for His coming—or even discounting the prophecies, and deciding God might not be as trustworthy as he supposed. He noted the times, and he believed the prophets who said no one is like God. No one could perceive how he works. He is beyond this time and space, and as such, he is the only One who can demand we trust him as he is.
The true message of Christmas is about two invasions. One was necessary to cast out the usurper, the one who by pretense occupied God’s territory. For him and his followers, there is no peace for those who rebel to the end. The other invasion was necessary to pierce my stony heart.
Disappointments, slights, brokenness in life. Mistakes, but also sins, hardness of heart, dissension. Sometimes I echo Dolly’s words when she says, “I just don’t feel like I have any more hope left in me.” My heart is troubled, and my coordinates don’t register on the radar. I’m lost, with desperation rapidly closing in. How do I know he will come back for me, to take me to him?
In this time of confusion, sorrow, and unrest, when many of us may have forgotten what it’s like to sing with the brethren in worship, there is one thing that binds believers together. We are all learning the same words of the song we will sing together on Mount Zion. Our study doesn’t include traditional methods of voice instruction—no scales or enunciation practice. When we serve one another in Christ through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, we leave behind the distinctions that divide. We lay aside our prejudices and idols; we build harmonies and practice heavenly graces that rise up to God’s ears as ethereal melodies. (This post originally appeared at Servants of Grace.)
Weights are things which “mar communion with Christ,” and we enter into communion with our Savior through contentment and obedience. As tempted as I may be to get rid of unpleasant people, projects or situations, they are often the very thing that I need to learn contentment and obedience and to progress in holiness.
Rehearsing for heaven happens when we obey God’s commands and it manifests like fellowship, exhortation, edification, comfort, mercy care, discipline, encouragement, and accountability. Surely the world will know who the choir members are—not by robes or vestments or matching outfits, but by our love for one another.
When we face famine and disease, loss of loved ones, disaster, brutal conditions, do we cling to an otherworldly view of this life, an understanding that this is not all there is, that we’re passing through to God’s better country?