Sun, 29 December 2019
(1Jn.2:12-17; Ps.96:7-11; Lk.2:36-40)
“The world with its seductions is passing away
but the man who does God’s will endures forever.”
Upon what is your eye fixed? Do you seek the Lord as has Anna these many years, “constantly in the temple, worshiping day and night in fasting and prayer,” or are you seduced by “carnal allurements, enticements for the eye, the life of empty show.” Indeed, “all these are from the world” (and what appropriate description of the extreme vanity which grasps the world in this day), and indeed are all passing away into the nothingness from which they spring. And those whose hearts are fixed upon them shall pass away with them, while he whose heart seeks the Lord passes to the eternal life of heaven.
“Give to the Lord the glory due His name!” David exclaims in his psalm today, and, yes, much glory is due Him. “Through His Name [our] sins have been forgiven”; through Him we “have conquered the evil one.” Do you know “Him who is from the beginning”? Does “the word of God [remain] in you”? Is it His love you have, or love for the world, wherein His love finds no place to dwell? “The Lord is King,” brothers and sisters. He alone is worthy of our worship, worthy of our attention, worthy of our praise. Waste not your breath on the empty illusions of this passing world.
Anna “gave thanks to God and talked about the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.” Do you look forward to such deliverance? Do you care to hear of the glory of the Lord spoken of by this prophetess? Or have you better things to do? What sporting event, television program, or party takes precedence in your life?
We live in a vain world, brothers and sisters. And that vanity permeates this modern society, presenting itself as an accepted good. It is not easy to conquer the hold such illusions cast upon our waiting eyes – only in Jesus will you find the strength to overcome these seductions. As “the child grew in size and strength, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God… upon Him,” so will you learn to make progress as you “tremble before Him”; so will you grow in His will to eternal life, as you turn away from the carnality of this life. Keep your eyes upon His light, rising from the darkness.
O LORD, let our hearts be set
on worship of you and your Son
and not on the things of this world.
YHWH, you are from the beginning; may your grace be upon us that we might conquer the evil one and endure with you forever. The world is indeed passing away – let us not pass with it.
O LORD, help us to do your will each day and at every hour. Teach us to remain in your Temple always and so be joined to you. If we worship you constantly, you will come quickly to save us – you send your Son to deliver Jerusalem, to comfort all who look to you.
How strong are the allurements of the world the devil presents to our weak flesh! How easily we give in to such distractions, LORD. Let it be your courts alone our hearts are set upon – help us to turn from darkness to your marvelous light.
In you we are made firm, and in your Son. With Him let us grow, O LORD, that we might indeed be your children and remain ever with you. Praise to you, O living God! Let us heed the words of your prophets and apostles.